Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

DNA findings

May 11, 2012

Portland Press Herald 5-11-12

In the case the state of Maine built against Dennis Dechaine, they claim their investigation and collection of evidence were done with pristine care — well, all except for one piece, and in my humble opinion it is the most crucial of all.

The state claims they used dirty nail clippers when collecting the fingernails from Sarah Cherry. I’m amazed that the only thing that they’ll admit they might have messed up on was the clippers used to remove nails that contain the blood of two people, Sarah and that of an unknown male.

It was decided back in 1994 that Dechaine had been excluded as a donor. Eighteen years ago this was discovered, yet he is still sitting behind bars unable to obtain a retrial. When he was excluded as a donor, the state was left holding the bag and then the dirty nail clipper theory was born. They then tested every person who might have come in contact with Sarah or her fingernails; all have been excluded. Along with this evidence, there is a laundry list of other pertinent evidence which also supports granting this man a retrial.

Prior to the start of his original trial in 1989, Dennis had petitioned for DNA testing, but Judge Bradford denied his request. I pray on May 23 when the hearing based on DNA findings begins that Judge Bradford will finally send this case to a retrial and help restore my faith in the system.

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Sheila Ford

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