Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Dechaine returns to prison after hospital stay

Apr 22, 2010 Posted: 12:00 AM

PORTLAND — Dennis Dechaine is back in the Maine State Prison after staying at a Portland hospital for more than two weeks with an undisclosed medical condition.

Corrections Commissioner Martin Magnusson said Thursday that Dechaine was transported to the prison in Warren sometime in the past few days.

He would not say whether Dechaine has been returned to his regular housing unit, or if he is staying in the prison infirmary or another special unit.

Dechaine, 52, is one of the state’s best-known prisoners. He is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin in 1988. He maintains that he is innocent.

A judge is expected to hear arguments later this year in his most recent bid for a new trial, based on DNA evidence. Dechaine’s four previous appeals have been rejected.

Dechaine’s family members have said that he was found unconscious in his cell on the morning of April 5, with very low pulse and blood pressure. He was taken by helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Don Dechaine, one of Dennis’ three brothers, said he doesn’t know what caused the emergency.

Magnusson said the Department of Corrections still is investigating the incident. He said it would not be appropriate for him to discuss the nature of the investigation, or any preliminary results, before it is finished.

Magnusson also said the law prohibits him from discussing Dechaine’s health.

Don Dechaine said his brother suffered a similar, but less serious, incident about 10 years ago. He was hospitalized briefly at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport. Don Dechaine said the cause of that incident was undetermined.

He said he doesn’t think that Dennis Dechaine has been on any medications, except possibly one to lower his cholesterol.

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