Charges dropped against detective accused of lying in Tim Masters wrongful conviction case

James Broderick appears before a Weld County court after being re-indicted for perjury in 2011.

James Broderick appears before a Weld County court after being re-indicted for perjury in 2011.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Weld County district attorney’s office confirmed Friday that it will no longer be pursuing charges against the detective accused of providing false testimony that may have aided in the wrongful murder conviction of Timothy Masters.

James Broderick was initially indicted on nine counts of first degree perjury on July 27 for making “materially false statements under oath” in the murder trial of Masters in 1999. Masters was convicted in that trial of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins.

Masters was released from prison in 2008 when he saw his conviction vacated due to DNA evidence.

In the initial indictment. Broderick was accused of lying under oath. TrueCrimeReport.com, which named Broderick in its “Top 5 police blunders” list in 2010, suggested that if Broderick had not done so, Hettrick’s murder might have been connected to Richard Hammond, a man who lived near the murder scene and would later be charged as a sexual deviant.

Hammond, an eye surgeon, committed suicide soon after being arrested in 1995, when he was accused of secretly filming the genitalia of women at his medical practice. Some media outlets speculated that Hammond’s trade may have gone a long way in explaining the surgical-like mutilation of Hettrick’s body.

In particular, district attorney Ken Buck pointed to two dropped charges as detrimental to the case against Broderick.

The first: an allegation that the detective lied about a shoe print impression at the crime scene. The second: an allegation that he lied about the color of spray paint on a bridge near the crime scene.

Prosecutors were asking the state supreme court to review the ruling of a district court to drop those two charges. That review never came to pass when the court denied the prosecution’s Writ of Certiorari petition.

“The two counts that were dismissed by the trial court were critical to this case,” Weld County district attorney Ken Buck wrote in a statement Friday. “Without the ability to pursue those charges, we simply do not believe the case (against Broderick) could be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.”