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DNA pros cheer convict’s release

Independent Forensic Services Touch DNA DNA pros cheer convict’s release
DNA pros cheer convict’s release

Touch DNA

DNA pros cheer convict’s release

Posted By IFS

Rockey Mountain News: DNA pros cheer convict’s release, Richard and Selma Eikelenboom

Dutch couple travel to see court free Tim Masters
By Kevin Vaughan, Rocky Mountain News (Contact)
Published January 22, 2008 at 12:30 a.m.

Investigator Linda Wheeler-Holloway and DNA experts Richard and Selma Eikelenboom look at a picture of Tim Masters on the Internet on Monday.

Investigator Linda Wheeler-Holloway and DNA experts Richard and Selma Eikelenboom look at a picture of Tim Masters on the Internet on Monday.
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Richard and Selma Eikelenboom always planned to travel to Colorado to watch Tim Masters be freed – they just never imagined it would happen this quickly.

The couple, who operate a DNA laboratory in Holland, made the first discovery of genetic material on the clothes of murder victim Peggy Hettrick that pointed the finger away from Masters, who is serving a life sentence for her killing.

So when they learned Friday that he was expected to walk out of court a free man today, they booked a flight to the United States.

“This is a very special moment, of course,” Richard Eikel enboom said Monday. “It is not that often that they release someone who was convicted for life.”

In recent years, a team of people who believed that Masters was innocent worked to win him a new trial. In 2005, the Eikelenbooms agreed to use techniques they developed in an effort to collect DNA from Hettrick’s clothing.

They first determined that none of Masters’ DNA was on her clothes. Then, more recently, they found that skin-cell DNA on the cuffs of Hettrick’s blouse matched the genetic fingerprint of a former boyfriend.

Investigators believe she was dragged by the wrists into the field where her body was found.

On Monday, the Eikelenbooms were shopping and preparing for the court hearing this morning at which Judge Joseph Weatherby is expected to order that Masters be released.

“I can imagine it was difficult for Tim Masters to believe he was going to be set free,” Richard Eikelenboom said. “But it was also difficult for us. We couldn’t believe it could go so fast after all the work to get him a new trial.”

The Eikelenbooms agreed to take on the case after a visit from former Fort Collins police detective Linda Wheeler-Holloway, who believes that Masters is innocent.

After hearing that presentation, Richard Eikelenboom said that he and his wife thought “there’s a good probability that this guy is innocent.”

They had been working in the DNA field for two decades and had developed new techniques for collecting samples from clothing. Collection is paramount.

“If you don’t find it, you never come to the process of DNA profiling,” Richard Eikelenboom said.

Written by IFS

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