Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Here are 25 stories that really clicked with readers

Jan 2, 2011

# 25. Did this man kill Sarah Cherry?

Convicted murderer Dennis Dechaine pins his hopes for one final shot at a retrial on new DNA evidence from Sarah Cherry’s body. Courts reporter Trevor Maxwell examined the case and both sides’ arguments in this July investigation published in the Maine Sunday Telegram, which was viewed more than 15,000 times.


Last Sunday, the Maine Sunday Telegram published readers’ picks for the 10 most significant news stories of 2010.

A group of women and men who had shed their tops march down a Congress Street sidewalk from Longfellow Square to Tommy’s Park. They were promoting the freedom of women to be topless in public. The group attracted many amateur and professional photographers.

Paul LePage speaks to supporters at the election results party at Champions in Waterville Tuesday night.

Today, we invite you to remember the 25 news articles and columns that were the most-read on

With the exception of Gov.-elect Paul LePage‘s victory, there wasn’t much overlap between the two lists. For one thing, news online can get picked up and shared with readers around the world. That’s what happened with most of the top stories on the list.

Here’s what had people clicking in 2010:

1. Women march topless in Portland without incident

On April 3, about two dozen women marched topless from Longfellow Square to Tommy’s Park in an effort to raise awareness about what they said was a double standard on male and female nudity. The news update posted soon after the march ended attracted international attention — and more than 742,000 views.

2. Marching for the right to bare breasts, women faced with sea of cameras

The more lengthy version of the topless march story, which appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram print edition and was posted online early April 4, also attracted readers from all over the world. It garnered an additional 125,000 views.


Readers waited throughout election night to see who would be Maine’s next governor. This story, which was viewed more than 42,000 times, was the final word from early Wednesday morning. Republican Paul LePage, while expressing optimism, had not yet claimed victory and runner-up Eliot Cutler, an independent, had not yet conceded.

4. Bill Nemitz: Call it class struggle: How politics went too far

Bill Nemitz’s May 12 column discussed the controversy that erupted when a King Middle School teacher said that someone took a poster depicting the history of the labor movement from his classroom while Republicans were caucusing there during the state party convention. National websites linked to the column, which picked up more than 33,000 page views.

5. Paul LePage is Maine’s next governor

This story, which attracted more than 30,000 views, initially was posted only minutes after reporters learned that Cutler would concede to LePage and was updated throughout the day.

6. Driver killed when trying to avoid porcupine

Police said that an Arundel woman was apparently trying to avoid a porcupine when she lost control of her car and hit a pole on Nov. 2. The story was viewed nearly 30,000 times.

7. Deadly Portland kayaking trip: Young women die in ‘very cold’ bay

Two young women, a Peaks Island summer resident and her visiting college friend, died in Casco Bay in a May kayaking accident after they apparently capsized. The story was viewed more than 23,000 times.

8. Prom night crash kills one, leaves three injured

A Scarborough High School senior was killed and three other teens were hurt, one critically, when their car was hit by a tractor-trailer. The two couples were on their way to the Gorham High School prom when the crash occurred. The story was viewed nearly 22,000 times.

9. Woman finds diamond from engagement ring lost in accident

Bill Nemitz in October told the improbable story of how a minister’s wife recovered a diamond that flew from her engagement ring when the couple’s motorcycle crashed on Interstate 295. It was widely shared through social media and received more than 21,000 page views.

10. Man’s body found hanging from tree in Fort Allen Park

Portland police said the man, who had recently moved to Portland, had committed suicide. The story was viewed just over 21,000 times.

11. Sneaking a peek at Trader Joe’s

Food writer Meredith Goad got a sneak peek at the hotly anticipated Trader Joe’s on Marginal Way a few days before it officially opened in late October. Curious and possibly hungry readers viewed her story nearly 19,000 times.

12. Bill Nemitz: Plane truth is that Donald Sussman’s private jet flew dying Mainer home

Sussman, the fiance of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, was revealed as the anonymous benefactor who provided a private jet to fly a dying man home to Maine from Kansas so he could be near family. The story was viewed more than 18,000 times.

13. A single punch, then death

The death of a young man in Monument Square after a confrontation with another man was one of the year’s most-read stories. This article, viewed almost 18,000 times, detailed the arraignment of William Googins, who faces manslaughter charges. He told police that he had no idea his single punch would injure Eric Benson so badly.

14. Incident spurs call for school use review

The King Middle School-GOP convention controversy continued to flare, with a Portland School Committee member calling for an investigation and review of the district’s policies on outside groups using schools. This story was viewed nearly 18,000 times.

15. Two local Tim Hortons among those to close

Mainers apparently take an interest in their coffee, with this initial announcement drawing lots of attention — and more than 17,000 page views. (The closed locations turned out to be in Westbrook and Windham.)

16. Woman drowns after saving her grandchild

Anne McNaughton Farley of Westbrook died after jumping in to save her granddaughter from a strong current off Old Orchard Beach in July, a story that was viewed more than 17,000 times.

17. Pownal boy dies after being crushed by tree

In a freak accident, a child was killed by a tree. He had been playing in the hole left by tree when it suddenly snapped back upright as his grandfather trimmed branches away. The story was viewed nearly 17,000 times.

18. Gray man, 20, charged in deadly assault

This story, which was viewed more than 16,000 times, detailed the arrest of William Googins in connection with the Monument Square assault that left Eric Benson dead.

19. Alcohol, speed, lack of seat belts contribute to fatal crash

A two-car crash in Standish left one woman dead, her body found in a tree 40 feet above where her car came to rest. The story was viewed more than 16,000 times.

20. Grinding ban has students griping

Portland High students complained after their principal announced a crackdown on suggestive dancing in advance of the school’s homecoming dance, and the story attracted more than 16,000 page views.

21. Poll: Cutler up, Mitchell down, Scontras even

This poll in the governor’s race found a dramatic surge by Eliot Cutler, who ended up finishing second, and Democrat Libby Mitchell, who wound up third in the race. The story attracted just over 16,000 page views.

22. Drugs, alcohol found in father, son who died at camp

A father and son from Saco were found dead in early August at their camp in Sangerville. In November, the state Medical Examiner’s Office announced that the men had cocaine, painkillers and alcohol in their bodies. The story received just under 16,000 page views.

23. Sex & the country

This story, which was viewed almost 16,000 times, described how some rural Maine establishments were turning to exotic dancers at night to augment their business.

24. ‘We’re experiencing how fragile life is’

This story, which was viewed more than 15,000 times, focused on how students from several southern Maine schools were mourning after the prom night crash that killed a Scarborough High senior.

25. Did this man kill Sarah Cherry?

Convicted murderer Dennis Dechaine pins his hopes for one final shot at a retrial on new DNA evidence from Sarah Cherry’s body. Courts reporter Trevor Maxwell examined the case and both sides’ arguments in this July investigation published in the Maine Sunday Telegram, which was viewed more than 15,000 times.

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