Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

More DNA testing approved in Sarah Cherry murder case as Dechaine seeks new trial

Jan 25, 2013

By Jenna Beaulieu
Staff Writer Fiddlehead Focus
October 30th 2012 08:51pm

AUGUSTA, Maine — More DNA testing in convicted murderer Dennis Dechaine’s bid for a new trial was approved Thursday by the State Attorney General’s Office and a superior court justice who has presided over the case for 23 years.

Steven Peterson, Dechaine’s defense attorney, said Friday that Superior Court Justice Carl O. Bradbord agreed during a telephone conference Thursday to continue testing on evidence from the 1988 murder of 11-year-old Sarah Cherry. Specifically, according to Peterson, tests will be conducted on the shirt that was worn by Cherry when she was kidnapped, tortured and killed in the town of Bowdoin.

In recent months, new methods of DNA testing have been used on some of Cherry’s clothing, which Peterson said could implicate an alternative suspect in the case, though neither Peterson nor Assistant Attorney General William Stokes would discuss who that person is. Peterson said the further testing, which involves more DNA analysis as well as the computerized evaluation of that data, including comparisons to DNA databases, is an attempt to home in on whom the DNA on the evidence belongs to. DNA testing in the case in recent years has revealed adult male DNA under Cherry’s fingernails that did not come from Dechaine. The testing has now shifted to Cherry’s clothing.

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