| News |

James Broderick, detective accused in Tim Masters case, no. 1 in Top 5 Police Blunders

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

In June, we told you about the indictment of Detective James Broderick on eight perjury counts related to the case of Tim Masters, who was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Now, Broderick's got another dubious achievement on his résumé. He's number one on a just-published list of the Top 5 Police Blunders.

The roster appears on TrueCrimeReport.com, which comes to us courtesy of Village Voice Media, Westword's parent company. It looks at crime from a national perspective, which makes Broderick's list-topping performance even more impressive -- and not necessarily in a good way.

Masters, as you'll recall, was found guilty of Peggy Hettrick's 1987 murder in 1999; he spent nine years in stir before being freed thanks to DNA evidence. This year, he's received a $5.9 million settlement from the City of Fort Collins and another $4.1 million from the Larimer County judicial district. But no amount of money can return his lost years.

TrueCrimeReport.com's Chris Parker recounts the main accusations against Broderick:

Under oath, Broderick denied having any contact with the case since 1987, conveniently forgetting the failed surveillance operation. Nor did he reveal any of the available contrary information (such as the surveillance failure) to the "expert." Broderick withheld, and later destroyed other evidence that may have connected the crime to a sexual deviant who also lived near the crime scene, and who committed suicide when arrested on other charges. (The suicide case had been a doctor, which would have gone a long way in explaining the surgical precision of the sexual mutilation of Hettrick's body.)

Parker's conclusion?

Perhaps it's better late than never, but the whole case just makes you feel dirty. It's hard to find any redeeming message, like be careful who you move in next-to because you might be blamed, though perhaps there's something in the fact that an innocent man was eventually freed. It only took nine years. That's practically fifteen minutes in bureaucratic time.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.