Dennis Dechaine, convicted of 1988 murder, continues decades long fight for new trial

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 3:45 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A Maine man convicted of murder has fought for decades to get a new trial, and that fight is not over.

Dennis Dechaine was found guilty of killing 12-year-old Sarah Cherry of Bowdoindham in 1988.

He’s serving a life sentence.

Friday in court, Dechaine and his defense made their most recent arguments surrounding DNA evidence.

They claim more sophisticated DNA technology, called probabilistic genotyping, could prove Dechaine’s innocence.

Although this technology is not brand new, the defense claims it was not well known or widely available for use during their previous efforts for a new trial.

The state argues probabilistic genotyping is available across the country and even it were to be used, they would be using it on decades old evidence that is contaminated due to poor evidence collection methods of the late 1980s.

”And the truth is still locked in that DNA evidence your honor, and the state now has the technology, the key, to unlock the DNA and reveal the truth,” said John Nale, Dechaine’s defense attorney.

“It’s time to let the family rest here. They’ve gone through this for over 30 years, and each time something like this comes along, their pain is renewed,” said Donald Macomber, Assistant Attorney General.

The judge did not offer a timeline for handing down a decision.

Dechaine last attempted to get a new trial after a federal appeals court in Boston refused to hear his case in 2016.

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