A toast to justice.

In all of the suck that was today, there was one great thing to happen.

In 1999, Timothy Masters was convicted of the brutal murder of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins, Colorado. This past Friday, he learned that after 9 1/2 years in jail, his quest for a new trial was going to become a reality at the very least, and his freedom was a suddenly quite attainable.

In July, The Denver Post published their investigative report into Masters' case, and the case they presented was very persuasive. Fifteen years old at the time of the murder, a detective set his sights on Masters as the murderer, and never looked away. Even with the doubts of the lead investigator, this detective pressed on. In 1998, Masters was arrested and charged with the crime, based entirely on circumstantial evidence and screwed up psychiatry. The prosecutors, eager to further their careers (which they did; both are now judges), failed to turn over evidence to the original defense team. A jury convicted Masters and he's been fighting for his freedom ever since.

With a new defense team, all of this (and more) has been brought to light, and a special prosecutor was brought in to determine whether Masters deserved a retrial. On Friday, after learning of new DNA evidence, the prosecutor announced that he was recommending Masters be freed immediately. On hearing the news, the prison guards threw him a small party. If that doesn't say the man is innocent, I've no idea what does.

Today, Masters walked out of court in a new suit paid for by his attorneys and was greeted by 50 members of his family, all of whom have supported him through the years and the trials.

He has to return to court February 5, to see whether the court will seek a retrial, but sources close to the district attorney's office have said that such a trial is unlikely.

What surprises me most of all is how humble Masters remains, how soft spoken and calm he is discussing his case. This is hardly a man who could have done the vicious crime he was accused of.

So today, I toast Timothy Masters, and his continued freedom and well-being, and pray for the family of Peggy Hettrick.

News story: Masters Released From Jail
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