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Dechaine Retrial Hearing Gets Underway
11/07/2013   Reported By: Tom Porter

Convicted child-murderer Dennis Dechaine faces two days of hearings in Cumberland County Superior Court, starting today. Dechaine's defense team hopes to present DNA evidence that will lead to a re-trial. Tom Porter has more.

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Dechaine Retrial Hearing Gets Underway Listen
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Dennis Dechaine lawyer Steve Peterson.

Dennis Dechaine is currently serving a life sentence for the 1988 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry of Bowdoin. Twenty-four years after Dechaine's sentencing, his lawyer, Steve Peterson (left), is hoping that new DNA evidence will create enough reasonable doubt to justify a retrial for the former farmer from Bowdoinham.

"What we're expecting is testimony from a private investigator today, who's going to testify about DNA that we recovered on an alternative suspect," Peterson said, before heading into the hearing.

Peterson says the defense team will also present testimony from two experts, who'll be talking about additional DNA testing done by a lab in Texas called Cellmark.

"There were five different reports done by Cellmark Lab, and they're going to be testifying as to what they contrue the meaning of those findings to be," Peterson says.

"As far as the state's concerned, the evidence of his guilt is overwhelming, and remains overwhelming," says Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes.

Stokes is adamant Dechaine should remain behind bars for the rest of his life. He says the state plans to present its own expert witnesses on Friday.

"There'll be testimony from the experts, who will be explaining the limitations of the DNA - what it means and what it doesn't mean, and what conclusions you can draw from the DNA testing," Stokes says.

The hearing at Cumberland County Superior Court was due to begin Thursday morning, but it was delayed until the afternoon, due to transportation issues getting Dechaine to Portland from the Maine State Prison in Warren, where he's being held.

Photo: Tom Porter



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