PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Tuesday marks the beginning of the next step in Anthony Sanborn’s fight for freedom.
In 1992 Sanborn was convicted of the brutal murder of teenager Jessica Briggs along the Portland waterfront. He was sentenced to 70-years in prison, but back in April after serving 27-years, he was released on bail. A judge made that decision after the state’s key witness recanted her story, saying she never saw Sanborn commit the crime.
It’s a highly unusual case. Anthony Sanborn is the first convicted murderer in Maine ever released on bail. He’s hoping this hearing will lead to him remaining free.
“I just thought it was going to be all right. I totally believed in the system and thought that everything would work out”, Sanborn told NEWS CENTER back in July after his release.
He discussed the trial that led to him being convicted of Jessica Brigg’s murder.
“Even when they said guilty I thought they said not guilty. I look back at a couple of people that I knew, what the heck just happened, what's going on”, he said.
For 27-years Sanborn remained locked in prison, with hope of ever being free again slipping with each passing year. Attorney F Lee Bailey is a consultant for Sanborn’s defense team.
“Then he lost and he lost and he lost and finally he just sank in the quicksand, but he didn’t become resentful, he didn’t become a problem prisoner”, said Bailey.
But then in April, the woman who helped convict him changed her story. Hope Cady testified before a judge, she lied during the Sanborn trial. Cady was just 13-years old when she was put on the stand in 1992. She testified in April she was coerced by police detectives back then and threatened.
Bailey says Sanborn’s fate during the upcoming hearing will likely hinge again on the state’s star witness. What Hope Cady did and didn’t see.
“Once the judge finds the sole lynchpin between the crime and the defendant is unreliable, and she rejects it, there isn’t any way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again”, he said.
But the original prosecutor doesn’t see it that way.
“At this point in time, I’m anxiously looking forward to testifying”, said Pam Ames.
These days Ames is a defense attorney. Looking back she says there were many pieces that linked Sanborn to the crime.
“Instead of all little pieces that didn’t make any sense pieces, it all fit into a puzzle picture”, she said.
There’s a lot riding on this case. For investigators, their credibility and integrity. For Anthony Sanborn, his reputation and his freedom.
“The truth, so that everyone knows it and it's clear that not one person has a doubt in their mind hopefully. I hope for justice for myself”, said Sanborn.
Two to three weeks have been set aside for the hearing. When it’s done, Anthony Sanborn could be returned to prison, put on trial again or cleared of the murder he was convicted of.