Hearing held as convicted murderer Dennis Dechaine seeks new trial

Dennis Dechaine
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Dennis Dechaine
Posted June 15, 2012, at 1:20 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A hearing in which a Maine man serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old girl in 1988 has wrapped up for the time being.

The lawyer for Dennis Dechaine is seeking a new trial based on DNA evidence from a fingernail clipping from the victim, Sarah Cherry of Bowdoin.

His attorney says evidence that now exists showing existence of DNA from an unknown male would have changed jurors’ minds at Dechaine’s 1989 trial.

Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes says DNA evidence from Sarah Cherry’s fingernail clippings is inconclusive but that the rest of the evidence was overwhelming.

Much of the testimony focused on the possibility of evidence contamination before wrapping up Friday. The hearing is Dechaine’s fifth attempt to get a new trial.

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