UPPER DARBY, Penn. (NEWS CENTER) -- Former Portland Police Chief Mike Chitwood is defending his department’s handling of the Anthony Sanborn murder case.
Sanborn was freed on bail in April after new evidence was presented by his defense attorney and a key prosecution witnesses recanted her story to police. Sanborn’s attorney Amy Fairfield also claims key evidence was stored in the attic of one of the investigating detective’s homes and questioned why the defense had not had access to it.
On Wednesday, Chitwood, who is now the police chief in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania told NEWS CENTER based on his knowledge of the case, he still believes that Sanborn killed Jessica Briggs in May of 1989. Sanborn was arrested and convicted of her murder three years later.
“I can talk about the credibility of the officers and prosecutor and in my opinion they could never frame, especially framing and setting somebody up for murder? I just don’t buy that. Detective Young and Detective Daniels…I’ve been doing this for 53 years…are as good as if not better than any detectives I’ve ever seen, not only in the way they handle the investigations…their professionalism, their ethics, their overall ability.”
Chitwood also defended the prosecutor in the case, Pamela Ames.
“The second piece of that is Pamela Ames is beyond reproach in my dealings with her. She was an outstanding, ethical prosecutor. People recanting what they’re saying 25 years ago…I don’t know anything about. I can’t really comment on it, but I can talk about those three individuals being beyond reproach and being extremely professional in what they do.”
Chitwood also took issue with the judge in Sanborn’s bail hearing, Justice Joyce Wheeler. Wheeler commented in court she didn’t see how the case could have been prosecuted based on the evidence she had been presented with.
» FULL INTERVIEW: Former Portland Police Michael Chitwood
“I was surprised he was granted bail and I was surprised the judge made the statements she made. I think that was uncalled for until the investigation is completed until all the facts are in, until they hear from the two detectives and the prosecutor.”
When asked if there was one piece of evidence that convinced him Sanborn had committed the crime, Chitwood responded, “ The eyewitness testimony…I can’t speak to why she waited 25 years to recant. Why not sooner? I don’t know.”