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2 Cases, 2 Outcomes : Scary Doodles v. Iraq War Contractors

December 11th, 2007 by Celeste Fremon


No, the cases are not related.
But they are both worthy of note, and both striking—and not in a good way.


(Note: Thanks to Forensic Psych, Karen Franklin and her great blog for flagging this first case)

In 1987, a woman named Peggy Hettrick was stabbed to death,
sexually mutilated, her body then left in a field in Fort Collins, Colorado. That same year, Tim Masters was a skinny, fifteen-year-old whose mother had died four years before. He was living in a mobile home with his military, over-busy father, was a bit of a loner, had a collection of survival knives, and a penchant for drawing. Some of his drawings were quite violent. It also happened that the boy’s home was a baseball’s throw from the field where Hettrick’s body was discovered, and he had seen her body on his way to school but failed to report it.

After Detective Jim Broderick met and interviewed Masters,
he soon became convinced that the fifteen-year-old was the murderer.

It didn’t seem to matter that no physical evidence pointed toward Tim Masters. In fact, all of it seemed to point away from the kid: fingerprints on Hettrick’s purse (not his), shoe prints near the body (not his), two foreign hairs on Hettrick (not his), and the mutilation itself, which physicians have now described as so unusually technical and difficult to perform that a 15-year-old could not have done it. (Years later DNA would also point away from Masters.)

Moreover, there was another likely prospect for the murder, a criminally kinky eye surgeon
who also lived near the crime scene. But the surgeon was never investigated, and evidence that might or might not have linked him to the case was ordered destroyed. Meanwhile, Detective Broderick clung to his theory that the killer was young Masters. However without any kind of solid proof or motive, the case went cold. Then ten years later, still sure that the now-grown Masters was the guy, the detective gave Masters’ drawings and interviews to a forensic psychologist in San Diego named Reid Meloy. With a 278 page analysis that is now seen as riddled with inconsistencies and absurd leaps of logic, Meloy concluded that Tim Masters had murdered Hettrick. A jury agreed.

Masters was arrested in 1998, tried, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

Eight years later,
the doubts about Masters’ guilt have continued to build and an agressive new defense team plus some solid investigative work by reporters at the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News have turned up a pile of evidence and a list of prosecutorial errors that were presented in hearings last week that will continued this month. All this will hopefully lead to a new trial.

It’s an upsetting and complicated tale.
But what is the most disturbing is that there appears to be nothing in the case that ever pointed to Masters in the first place—-other than the fact that he was a shy kid in the throes of a hard adolescence and still affected by the loss of his mom. He also appears to have had some violent fantasies, plus he had a collection of survival knives, many of which were given him by relatives. All of this, I’m sorry to say, is not too different than a lot of temporarily-troubled teenage boys who go through a bad patch after a large trauma, such as losing a parent or a nasty divorce. Yet most of them eventually get through it without murdering anyone. Or being convicted of murder.

And then there’s this..


The story behind this case will be broadcast
on an upcoming 20/20. It’s about a 22-year old named Jamie Leigh Jones who says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

The details of the alleged crime are quite harrowing. However, as yet, there’s been no legal action taken against the alleged rapists. None. Zero. Zip. No charges, no sanctions, no nada. It’s as if the men who are accused of attacking Jones were operating in a Free Rape Zone, and no one—not Halliburton, not KBR, not the U.S. Department of Justice—is prepared to do a damned thing about it.

Over two years later, the Justice Department
has brought no criminal charges in the matter. In fact, ABC News could not confirm any federal agency was investigating the case.

Legal experts say Jones’ alleged assailants will likely never face
a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.

Incredible. Completely incredible.

Posted in crime and punishment, criminal justice, War | 23 Comments »

23 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    On the first case, you want release because it appears that the convicted is really innocent. I agree with that.

    On the second, case, it seems that you want convictions mainly because the accused are part of Halliburton. I don’t agree there.

    I want justice, period, and don’t put any more emphasis on who is being accused. However, the left-wing media buys into the attacks against our military by of the likes of liars like John Kerry and Harry Reid and tries to convict our soldiers, their support teams, and, therefore, our missions in the minds of the American public.

    If this site is about justice, shouldn’t justice apply to everyone?

  2. Randy Paul Says:

    Over two years later, the Justice Department has brought no criminal charges in the matter. In fact, ABC News could not confirm any federal agency was investigating the case.

    I can’t speak for Celeste, but I would say that was is distressing about the second matter is no one is even bothering to investigate. No one is talking about convictions here except for you.

  3. Bill Says:

    Good for you, for poking at Halliburton. They are culpable on many levels. But their firewalls are still largely impenetrable. The circle dance played by the corporate media and the federal government is, it seems, going to last awhile longer, until the Democrats get some stones and start going after this most arrogant, immoral, corrupt administration. We deserve them. We elected them. We permitted them.

  4. Woody Says:

    No one speaking about convictions except me?

    Celeste wrote: “It’s as if the men who attacked Jones….”

    Apparently, she already knows that they are guilty. Let’s skip the investigation and a trial and just lock them up, since we know that they are guilty by virtue of being accused by a woman and working for Halliburton and helping in Iraq.

    As I said, I want justice, just as I did with the Duke playes.

  5. Randy Paul Says:

    She also wrote this: “The details of the alleged crime are quite harrowing. However, as yet, there’s been no legal action taken against the alleged rapists.”

    I guess it depends on what one chooses to focus upon.

  6. reg Says:

    Is it even remotely conceivable that Woody would be trying to sift through this post to find fault in “insufficient repetition of the word ‘alleged’” if the alleged rapists were a bunch of black guys or illegal immigrants.

    “I’m beginning to see a pattern…”

  7. Woody Says:

    Randy, if there are contradictory statements within a post, then you can focus on the one that seems to come from the writer’s heart rather than the writer’s head to know his true feelings. If that’s not clear, then you go with the most incriminating statement. If there are still doubts, go with the last one.

    Race or nationality has nothing to do with it from my perspective. Association with the military does have something to do with it from others.

    I see that reg has a pattern of standing up for left-wing views and criticizing those who don’t.

    Maggie, don’t run off.

  8. Randy Paul Says:

    Or you can look for something to feed your own prejudices.

  9. Woody Says:

    No, Randy. Celeste said that they were guilty. Just because she said something else earlier doesn’t take away from that. I know that intellectually she understands that they are innocent until proven guilty, but her emotions said otherwise when she got careless. It’s not my prejudices that are showing. You guys just want to rationalize to suit yourselves.

  10. Randy Paul Says:

    That’s an opinion, Woody. Need I remind you of the old saying about them?

  11. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Technically Woody’s right. I should have put “alleged” in the third time. Sloppy on my part. I’ve now changed it.

  12. reg Says:

    SInce you were talking about not just the rape but the inaction on the part of authorities, and no one was named in that sentence which focused on lack of follow-up, not to mention the threats and false imprisonment against the victim – Woody was simply engaged in nitpicking rooted in his own biases. You showed no such bias in the piece, one sentence “fixed” or no. I’m still waiting for the day Woody writes a paragraph that isn’t shot through with prejudicial statements and allegations presented as “fact.”.

  13. Randy Paul Says:

    So it was an error of omission, not commision.

  14. richard locicero Says:

    Journalists are very careful these days to always modify the crime by placing “alleged” in front of it. Sometimes they go overboard as I saw a few years ago when I was treated to a typical LA Spectator sport – watching a car chase from on high via helocopter on the local news. It seemed that a female was driving the offending car and the anchor kept referring to her as “the alleged woman!”

  15. Woody Says:

    What a bunch of weasel words to try to squirm out of saying that I am right.

    Celeste says that I’m “technically” right. As opposed to what, and why is that word used except to somehow say that you or Randy were right…somehow? Un-technically, perhaps?

    Then, Randy slimes around and says that it was simply an error of omission rather than comisssion.

    Then reg closes out the rebuttal by saying that I’m prejudiced.

    You guys are a riot.

  16. Randy Paul Says:


  17. Woody Says:

    Randy is allegedly out of arguments.

  18. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Woody, I said you were technically right in that you were quite right that I should have qualified the statement, but not right about my intent in not doing it. Make sense?

    “Alleged woman.” That’s pretty funny, RLC.

  19. Randy Paul Says:

    What Celeste said.

    Woody, you’re just boring me to sleep.

  20. Woody Says:

    Celeste, I didn’t say that you intentionally omitted the word. It could have been like a Freudian slip. My complaint was that, by saying “technically he’s right,” you were placing an unnecessary qualifier to diminish what I said. So, technically, was Bush right about invading Iraq?

  21. "reg" Says:

    “Everything has to do with Iraq.”

  22. Mike Jackson Says:

    Hello?? Hello? Is there intelligent life on this site? It turns out that Jamie Leigh Jones is getting her day in court. It goes to the jury this week. It looks like many, if not most, of her allegations against Halliburton were flat out lies. However, I noticed once Celeste Fremon writes something down and defames a company she does not go back and follow up and set the record straight. Jones did have sex with a creep in Iraq and that creep probably went to far and is guilty of sexual assault. However, Jones’ charges against Halliburton has been for the most part a pack of lies–very similar to the lies spread by the hooker in the Duke Lacrosse case. She was never, ever detained in a shipping crate as Jones claimed. There was not a gang of rapists, but just one obnoxious loser whom she chose to have sex with. No having sex with a loser does not mean the loser can rape you, but on the other hand young women need to be careful and there is NO evidence that Jones was careful. She lied and she lied and Fremon is retelling the lie that Halliburton covered it up. That is simply untrue.

  23. Mike Jackson Says:

    The jury returned its verdict today in Houston and it lines right up with the State Dept investigation and the Federal court case in Florida in 2008. Jones is a liar. Period. She had dirty idiot sex with a bully and a loser, which of course makes her a bully and a loser. However the fact that that she had sex with a bully and a loser does not mean that any of the BS that she stated is true. Jones and Fremon should both be in jail. Jones for lying constantly and Fremon for repeating the lies as if they are true. Fremon is a douchebag and a loser.

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