Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

‘Mountain’ of evidence bolsters Dechaine’s claims

Mar 7, 2010

Morning Sentinel Staff

That two renowned forensic pathologists, Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. Walter Hofman, have concluded that Sarah Cherry probably died 16 to 20 hours after Dennis Dechaine was in police custody should have been a front-page story, not hidden on B6.

Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes’ response, inferring that death occurred long after her killer left the scene, was also newsworthy, especially as Stokes did not mention that Sarah’s neck was constricted to a diameter of 3 inches or less, surely resulting in a quick death.

Stokes has stated that the DNA of an unknown male found under Sarah’s thumbnail bears no logical connection to the killer, while prosecutor Eric Wright has claimed that the DNA is of no significance because Dechaine had no scratches on him.
At trial, the state successfully opposed DNA testing, and, after Dechaine filed an appeal, Deputy Attorney General Fern LaRochelle ordered the incineration of possible DNA evidence.

Over the past 21 years, not one new fact has surfaced supporting the state’s case against Dechaine, while a mountain of exculpatory evidence — including proof that the damning testimony of two detectives was contradicted by their own notes — has been uncovered.

For the past 21 years, Dechaine has sought a new trial, one in which a jury would hear all of the evidence.
In effect, the state also would be on trial, and perhaps that is why Stokes, in increasingly desperate opposition, makes statements that would be laughable were the circumstances not so tragic.

William Bunting


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