, 2022-08-02 00:00:00,
MADAWASKA, Maine — Longtime supporters of convicted child killer Dennis Dechaine say they are encouraged by a judge’s ruling in favor of new DNA testing in his case, and are raising money to pay for the tests.
A Knox County jury convicted Dechaine in 1989 for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry who was babysitting at a Bowdoin home when she went missing on July 6, 1988. Her body was found two days later covered by brush in the woods several miles away.
Dechaine has unsuccessfully appealed his conviction five times over the years. His last effort was rejected by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2016. In his latest request, Dechaine hopes the results of new DNA tests will allow him to have a new trial and ultimately exonerate him.
Trial and Error, a group convinced of Dechaine’s innocence, is raising the $50,000 it claims is required to cover the costs of new DNA tests on multiple pieces of evidence. The group has $35,000 left to raise.
Trial and Error founder Carol Waltman said the defense offered to pay for the DNA tests because they feared the motion for new testing would be denied otherwise. However, defense attorneys and the state are making arrangements to determine how much, if any, each side will pay for the testing.
“People who are guilty do not ask for DNA testing,” said Whitefield farmer Bill Bunting, vice president of Trial and Error. “If you combine the time of death with no evidence in Dennis’ truck, there’s really very compelling evidence that Dennis is innocent.”
Bunting, who regularly visits Dechaine at Maine State Prison, said he is encouraged and hopeful that new DNA testing will be done.
In the July 22 ruling granting a motion by Dechaine’s attorneys for further DNA testing, Maine Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee said that if he is actually innocent, Dechaine “has an essential interest in seeing that the truth is found, presented and recognized.” Dechaine’s attorneys argued testing should be allowed because of the new technology available.
Mallonee also said he was mindful of the powerful interests of Sarah Cherry’s family members.
“They have endured 34 years of litigation since their daughter was tortured and killed and they have a need, finally, for their suffering, and loss not to be aggravated by further court proceedings,” Mallonee wrote.
Nevertheless, Mallonee said he was bound by a Maine statute…
To read the original article, go to Click here