Nov 29, 2010
More than 21 years ago, Judge Carl Bradford decided that he didn’t want to waste time on DNA testing in the original Dennis Dechaine trial. Dechaine had asked to have the DNA testing done and even offered to pay for it. Then, after Dechaine appealed his conviction, the state incinerated likely DNA evidence including the rape kit, unidentified hair, and the victim’s pants, but kept items deemed evidence for the prosecution.
Soon this same Judge Bradford will be deciding whether Maine’s revised DNA statute will allow a new trial for Dechaine based on DNA of a male who is not Dechaine found under the victim’s thumbnail. Bradford has refused to consider new time-of-death findings by two renowned forensic pathologists that puts Dechaine in police custody well before the murder, and the fact that testimony given at the original trial by detectives is contradicted by their own notes.
But let’s all hope, for the sake of justice, that Judge Bradford makes a correct decision this time on the DNA evidence. Last year the state used DNA found under a victim’s fingernail to solve an even older murder case. It could also solve this case and set an innocent man free at last.