Aug 5, 2010
ROCKLAND – Dennis Dechaine pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of trafficking in contraband at the Maine State Prison, where he is serving a life sentence for the murder of a 12-year-old girl.
Dechaine, 52, appeared briefly in Knox County Superior Court via closed-circuit television from the nearby prison in Warren. He did not speak during the hearing, except to tell the judge that he understood the felony charge and that he wished to enter a not guilty plea.
Prosecutors say Dechaine illegally possessed morphine and the prescription anti-anxiety drug Klonopin.
Dechaine was convicted of kidnapping, torturing and murdering Sarah Cherry in the Sagadahoc County town of Bowdoin in 1988. He says he is innocent, and his latest motion for a new trial is pending, with a hearing expected this fall.
In prior interviews and in a letter sent to The Portland Press Herald last month, Dechaine said he used the morphine and Klonopin in a suicide attempt on April 4. He would not disclose how he got the drugs, and he said he has not cooperated with prison investigators or the District Attorney’s Office.
Corrections officers found Dechaine near death in his cell. He was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he spent two weeks recovering. Since his return to prison, Dechaine has been in the specialized mental health unit.
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