Friday, January 18, 2008
The law... now fighting the law







Drew Griffin
360 Correspondent


Not a month goes by when I don't get a letter from a prison with an inmate telling me he is not guilty and asking me to investigate his case. (I have yet to get a letter from a convicted woman.)

Generally, I read the material, take a quick look at any news stories on it, and dismiss the request as just another one of those inmates who can't understand how he got caught. I've learned over the years, not to take most cases seriously because I truly believe most people in prison are where they are supposed to be.

That is not the case with Tim Masters. And ironically, it took a former lead investigator on the case to convince me of that.

Linda Holloway says she helped put an innocent man in prison and is now trying to make things right. Holloway has spent 30 years as a street cop, detective and investigator, and still works with a district attorney in Colorado.

Yet when Holloway took the witness stand in 1999, and was asked if Tim Masters murdered a woman named Peggy Hettrick, she didn't answer the question. Holloway says she knew her answer would be no. But she balked at throwing away years spent investigating Masters as the only suspect.

So Holloway remained silent. And Masters was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Now Masters is fighting for a new trial, and Holloway has decided she can no longer remain silent.

Meeting on her Colorado ranch, Holloway told me how a small town police department targeted Masters, then just a 15-year-old boy, and never found another suspect. She says they trailed him for 12 years until finally arresting him and convicting him on nothing more than circumstantial evidence and the questionable claims of a psychologist who never even interviewed Masters.

The details are not nearly as interesting as the cop herself. Fighting on the "right side of the law," against friends and colleagues of 30 years, Holloway is speaking up about how the law went wrong. Police split over conviction

Hearings begin Tuesday. The two prosecutors who convicted Masters will have to explain why they allegedly withheld evidence that might could have exonerated their suspect.

If, after that hearing, Tim Masters is released from prison and charges against him are dropped, that might result of one of the strongest pieces of police work that Detective Holloway has ever done.



WATCH Police try to bait teen Masters into murder confession
Posted By CNN: 5:05 PM ET
  3 Comments
Hi Drew,
Fasinating story and thought provoking.
I wonder just how many people are in prison who are innocent?
Prisons are big business, unfortunately.
A life is a terrible thing to waste.
There has to be a better way.
Posted By Blogger Betty Ann : 5:32 PM ET
Drew,
What a really strange story!! I am glad that Holloway stepped up and did the right thing. She should have done this years ago though IMO!! Hopefully justice will be done and Masters will be released!

But I am wondering can she get in trouble for lying on the stand? I mean she admitted to you that she did. And if he gets out because of her testimony then it seems like she should be prosecuted for lying under oath.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 5:34 PM ET
Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about our law enforcement and criminal court systems back then. At least the lies are being corrected and this man stands a chance at getting the life he's been denied back. I just want to know if those who lied or stayed silent about the truth and are named will have to face legal consequences for their wrongdoings. It seems like there should be some sort of punishment for destroying a kid for over half his life. What a slap in the face to Lady Justice!
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 7:12 PM ET
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