BANGOR, Maine — Dennis Dechaine’s name didn’t come up during F. Lee Bailey’s talk Wednesday morning about prison reform at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s Early Bird Breakfast at the Ramada Inn.
In an interview with reporters after the breakfast, Bailey said he is aware of new forensic evidence that could exonerate Dechaine, who is serving a life sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren, for the 1988 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin.
Bailey, who is no longer practicing law, is serving as a consultant on the case. He met in April with Dechaine at the prison.
A motion for a new trial is pending in Knox County Superior Court, according to Dechaine’s attorney, Steve Peterson of Rockport.
“A couple of forensic experts, one of whom is almost a household name, have written their expert opinions and are ready to file them with the court,” Bailey said Wednesday. “Those opinions are inconsistent with a guilty verdict.”
The new information, according to Bailey, of Boston, concerns the victim’s time of death. He hinted that Cherry was killed while Dechaine, now 50, was in police custody.
Neither the results of the new tests nor the experts’ opinions about those results have been shared with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, but will be soon, Peterson said Wednesday. The motion for a new trial is expected to be heard in September, he said.
Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, who is handling the Dechaine case, confirmed he has not received the expert opinions to which Bailey referred.
Dechaine has maintained his innocence. An active, organized group, Trial & Error, has pressed for his case to be reopened.
Cherry disappeared from her home on July 6, 1988, where she was baby-sitting. Her body was found days later. She had been raped with sticks, strangled with a scarf and repeatedly stabbed.
Three years ago, an independent panel found no misconduct by prosecutors or investigators in its review of the case. Peterson has said that improvements in DNA science might provide a breakthrough in the case.