Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Is new DNA information enough for ‘reasonable doubt’ in Dechaine case?

Oct 13, 2012

New information casts doubts on Dennis Dechaine’s role in the death of Sarah Cherry, and confirms the alternative suspect theory, an analyst hired to interpret DNA data from a 24-year-old murder case says.

Dr. Greg Hampikian, a DNA analyst from Idaho hired by Dechaine’s attorney, said Friday that his method of interpreting the results excludes Dechaine as a suspect because of the absence of a key marker present in Dechaine’s biological profile.

“It is clear from the ligature results that more than one male contributed DNA to the scarf; in fact there are at least three male contributors based on the result,” wrote Hampikian in a report to attorney Steven Peterson.

DNA lab Orchid Cellmark in Texas reported that DNA found on a scarf used to strangle 12-year-old Cherry included a mixture of samples from at least three different men. Cellmark states in its report provided by Peterson that Dechaine could not be excluded as a suspect. The testing was paid for by an organization called the Innocence Project, which works to exonerate people it believes are wrongly convicted.

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By Christopher Cousins
Staff Writer Bangor Daily News

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