Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Masters' defense attorney says he will share DNA test information

By Jon Pilsner

The Reporter-Herald

Now that charges against his client have been dropped, David Wymore intends to share all he knows about the DNA found on Peggy Hettrick’s body with local prosecutors.

Wymore, defense attorney for Timothy Masters, had DNA evidence found on Hettrick’s body when she was killed in 1987 sent to a private laboratory in the Netherlands in 2007 for testing. When that laboratory returned a result, Wymore shared part of it with special prosecutors investigating Masters’ 1999 conviction for killing Hettrick.

The DNA, which does not match Masters, proved to be the last component of Masters’ appeal to have his guilty verdict and life prison sentence tossed out, which Judge Joseph Weatherby did last Tuesday.

On Friday, Larry Abrahamson, 8th Judicial District district attorney, announced in a release he would file a motion to have the murder charge Masters still faced dropped.

The statement also said the Hettrick investigation would continue.

“To date, the defense has only provided partial results of their DNA testing to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and special prosecutors,” Abrahamson said in a prepared release on Friday.

“Fortunately, samples of DNA preserved by the prosecution allowed special prosecutors to validate a portion of the testing done in the Netherlands by the defense.”

Abrahamson’s office has declined further comment because the investigation is ongoing.

“I provided them with the partial results, but the results I provided were the pieces that Masters wasn’t there,” Wymore said. “But we did provide the most important pieces, and the most reliable. We provided what we had developed because I had to show him that it matched his own evidence.”

Abrahamson has asked Gov. Bill Ritter to appoint state attorney general John Suthers and his office as the lead investigators in the case to avoid any possible conflict of interest or bias.

Ritter is expected to announce his decision on the request today or Tuesday.

Wymore stressed that he intended to provide prosecutors in the case with all the information the lab in the Netherlands provided him.

“Upon dismissal, I hold up my promises,” Wymore said.

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