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Dennis Dechaine, who was convicted of killing a 12-year-old Maine girl in 1988, is seeking another trial based on new DNA evidence, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Dechaine is serving a life sentence for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Sarah Cherry in 1988.
Cherry was kidnapped from a home in Bowdoin while she was babysitting.
Her body was found several miles away in the woods two days later close to where Dechaine’s truck had been parked when he was picked up by police the night she disappeared.
Dechaine has always maintained his innocence.
Last summer, a judge agreed to allow for new DNA testing in the case with the results finding no conclusive links between Dechaine and several key samples, but it couldn’t be excluded from several other items.
A car repair receipt and notebook bearing Dechaine’s name were found outside the Bowdoin home where Sarah was babysitting before her abduction. Yellow rope used to bind her hands matched rope in Dechaine’s truck. And his truck was parked near the location where her body was found.
Dechaine contends that someone framed him by planting evidence while he was in the woods doing drugs.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court denied three previous requests for a new trial. In the latest, the court concluded that additional testing that showed Dechaine’s DNA was not under the victim’s fingernail wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the original trial. Federal courts also declined to intervene.
The Maine Sunday Telegram reported that the new tests excluded Dechaine’s DNA from the victim’s bra, a bandana used to gag her and a stick used to violate her, but they were inconclusive on her blood-stained T-shirt, a scarf used to strangle her and another stick.
Dechaine’s attorney hopes the evidence will compel a judge to order a hearing where he can argue it merits a new trial.
Dechaine, who was 30 at the time of the killing, has a fierce group of supporters who say he couldn’t be the killer. They’ve pointed to alternative suspects.