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DNA testing excludes Dennis Dechaine from some key crime scene evidence

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Dennis Dechaine, convicted of the 1988 murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry, makes a bid for a new trial in 2012. Defense attorney Steven Peterson, left, is seated with Dechaine.

Press Herald, November 2022

New, state-of-the-art DNA testing has failed to tie Dennis Dechaine to items used in the 1988 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old babysitter Sarah Cherry, prompting his defense team to say they will seek a new trial.

Dechaine has spent 34 years in prison since his conviction in the murder. The Bowdoinham farmer with no criminal record or history of violence became the sole suspect in Cherry’s kidnapping on the afternoon of July 6, 1988, when a receipt and notebook with his name on them were found at the Bowdoin home where the girl was babysitting. Her body was found two days later in the woods three miles away, close to where his truck had been parked when he was picked up by police the night of the abduction. She had been sexually tortured and strangled, her hands bound in yellow rope similar to rope found in Dechaine’s truck.

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