Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

News Articles - Trial and Error - Dennis Dechaine

Analyses by two experts offer hope to Dechaine

Feb 25, 2010

Lawyers for the convicted killer say new opinions on the time of death back his bid for a new trial.

Lawyers for Dennis Dechaine said Wednesday that two renowned forensic pathologists have provided opinions that could help Dechaine get a new trial in the murder of a 12-year-old girl more than two decades ago.

Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. Walter Hofman reviewed the case at the request of Steve Peterson, a Rockport lawyer, and F. Lee Bailey, the famed defense attorney who is a consultant to Dechaine.

In their opinions, Wecht and Hofman agreed that Sarah Cherry likely died several hours after Dechaine emerged from the woods in Bowdoinham and was taken into police custody. Dechaine, 52, is serving a life sentence for Cherry’s kidnapping and murder in 1988.

view full story

By Trevor Maxwell 
Staff Writer

F. Lee Bailey : working as a consultant

Feb 9, 2010


— Famed criminal defense attorney F. Lee Bailey made name for himself defending high profile clients such as O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst.  He visited Bangor today to speak with business leaders about a program that helps put inmates to work once they leave prison.

“If he stumbles help pick him up and help give him another chance,” Bailey told business leaders at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

He added that an inmate soon to be released from the Maine Correctional Facility in Windham would be coming to Bangor looking for a job. That inmate took part in a Workready job training program.

Read more: F. Lee Bailey...

Killer’s conviction gives good example of ‘irony’

Jul 5, 2009

Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel

After reading of the importance of DNA analysis in the recent conviction of Thomas H. Mitchell Jr.

for the 1983 slaying of Judith Flagg, I thought back to my struggle in high school English class to understand the concept of irony. The dictionary was little help. Mine defines irony as “an outcome of events contrary to what was expected; the incongruity of this.”

The Mitchell case offers just what I needed.  First, praise is due Deputy Attorney General William Stokes for bringing “the application of modern DNA technology” (his words) to bear on a 26-year-old case.

Read more: Killer’s...

F. Lee Bailey agrees to aid Dechaine bid for new trial

Apr 9, 2009

WARREN – Famed defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey met with convicted child killer Dennis Dechaine on Wednesday and agreed to help with his petition for a new trial.

Bailey met Wednesday with Dechaine at the Maine State Prison, where he’s serving a life sentence for the 1988 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoinham.

”He’s basically going to be available as a consultant,” Steve Peterson, Dechaine’s lawyer, said of Bailey.

He said he didn’t envision Bailey playing a role in the courtroom, but that’s subject to change.

Read more: F. Lee Bailey...

Posted Public’s right to know clouded by court ruling

Jun 20, 2008

— What is billed as a setback for Dennis Dechaine — the Bowdoinham farmer serving a life sentence for a murder he said he didn’t commit — is a court decision that could hurt a great number of Mainers.

A sharply divided Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a panel hand-picked by Attorney General Steven Rowe to investigate charges of wrongdoing by the police and prosecutors in the Dechaine case was not performing a government function, and so was not subject to the Freedom of Access Act.

Even though Rowe created the panel, selected its members and told them what to investigate, the court majority ruled that the panel was a private organization and did not have to turn over records of its investigation to a member of the public.

Read more: Posted...

Dechaine records access denied

Jun 17, 2008 

A special commission, created by Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe to review the prosecution of Dennis Dechaine, was not a government body and its records can be kept private, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Tuesday.

Two of the five justices who reviewed the case, however, disagreed with the decision. That divide could leave the door open for future debate in the court system or in the Legislature.

Back in 2004, Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe created the Beaulieu commission to investigate allegations that prosecutors and police officers altered notes, misled the jury, ignored alternative suspects and destroyed evidence before, during and after Dechaine’s trial in 1989. Dechaine was convicted and is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoinham.

view full story

Staff writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

Dechaine case fuels right-to-know fight

Nov 27, 2007

It’s been nearly 20 years since Dennis Dechaine was arrested, tried and convicted for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoinham.

And still the case continues to generate controversy.

The latest flare-up has little to do with Dechaine’s attempts to get a new trial, but it could have a big effect on Maine’s right-to-know law.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is reviewing a case that asks whether an independent commission, created by a state official, should be allowed to keep its notes and other records out of the public eye. The case is expected to be heard in January.

view full story

Read the Book


Human Sacrifice: On the Altar of Injustice

High-quality soft-cover edition, 418 pages, 

is exclusively available from Trial & Error for $15, with free shipping.

Click to order!