Dechaine hearing wraps up for the week | News
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A hearing to determine whether or not Dennis Dechaine will be granted a new trial after his conviction for the murder of 12-year old Sarah Cherry wrapped up for now.
The murder case has been one of the most talked about ever in Maine. Legal experts say they have never seen a case like this before. It has been making its way through the court system for more than 2-decades now.
Dechaine and his attorney are clinging to hope that a small DNA sample taken from Sarah's fingernail, 24 years ago, will be enough to get Dechaine a new trial. The DNA matches Sarah and an unidentified male. It does not match Dennis Dechaine.
Thursday there was scientific testimony based on the reliability of the DNA sample. The state presented an expert who said the sample was likely contaminated at some point over the last 24 years.
"When you put this really unknown piece of evidence in the context with the other evidence in the case it's overwhelming as to the guilt of Mr. Dechaine", said prosecutor Bill Stokes.
But a defense witness testified another nail clipping was not contaminated and it went through the same process as the clipping with DNA found on it.
"You would likely have seen contamination elsewhere on other items but certainly on the other half of the same finger nail and there was no evidence of any contamination on that and this was all done at the same time", said defense attorney Steven Petersen.
In order to try to show the DNA is not random or contaminated the defense will be allowed to do more testing on other evidence in the case to see if DNA is found on those items and if it matches the DNA on the nail clipping. It will likely take a couple months to do that. The hearing will resume when those test results are complete.
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