ROCKLAND, Maine — Dennis Dechaine, 52, who is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin in 1988, was indicted Thursday by the Knox County grand jury on a charge of trafficking in prison contraband.
Dechaine was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland on April 5 for a drop in blood pressure and a high heart rate.
The indictment alleges that on that day Dechaine had the painkiller morphine and-or the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin, Knox County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said Friday.
“It’s a Class C crime [with a penalty of] up to five years in prison,” he said.
Dechaine was in the Portland hospital for more than two weeks.
In a July 10 letter to a reporter for the Portland Press Herald that is posted on the newspaper’s website, Dechaine said, “The reason why I was hospitalized on April 5 is because on the previous evening I ingested a combination of prescription drugs in an attempt to end my life.”
Dechaine went on to explain his reasons for attempting suicide.
“I have been imprisoned 22 years and the soul crushing monotony, boredom, institutional food, pervasive violence, 24 hour lights, near constant noise, harsh treatment, myriad petty rules, lack of resources, loss of potential, separation from family and friends, along with a raft of other negativity, simply conspired to erode my will to live,” he said in the letter.
Dechaine, a former Bowdoinham farmer who has served the last 22 years in the Maine State Prison for murdering Cherry, maintains that he is innocent. He and his attorney are pressing for a new trial based on DNA evidence and a judge is expected to hear arguments later this year. Dechaine’s four previous appeals have all been rejected.
Cherry was kidnapped, stabbed and strangled in the woods of Bowdoin on July 6, 1988, and Dechaine was found wandering in the woods nearby. His truck was found 450 feet from where her body was found and rope inside in the truck matched rope that bound her wrists.
Dechaine was convicted of Cherry’s murder in Knox County Superior Court in March 1989.