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The Precarious Use of Forensic Psychology As Evidence: The Timothy Masters Case
By Frank S. Perri, Terrance G. Lichtenwald
There have been incidences where juries relied on my opinion and in
the aftermath, those [opinions] were not supported by evidence.1
Forensic Psychologist Dr. Reid Meloy
With the assistance of his post-conviction attorneys David Wymore and
Maria Liu, Timothy Masters was successful in getting all homicide
charges against him dropped after he spent over nine years in a Colorado
prison for the murder of Peggy Hettrick. While his conviction was based
in large part on faulty forensic psychological testimony introduced at
trial, his freedom resulted from the prosecution’s review of new DNA
evidence pointing to other suspects. The Masters case can be
characterized as a series of disasters, beginning with a homicide
detective who contacted internationally renowned forensic psychologist
Dr. Reid Meloy to help him construct an arrest warrant based on Meloy’s
opinion that drawings by Masters reflected his motive to kill Hettrick.
The series of disasters ended with a conv
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