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Additional DNA testing ordered in Dechaine case

Attorneys for Dennis Dechaine, who was convicted of the 1988 murder and sexual assault of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry, said new DNA testing technology is available.

MAINE, USA — A superior court justice ruled Friday that further DNA testing will be conducted on evidence presented during the 1989 murder trial of Dennis Dechaine.

Dechaine was convicted of the 1988 murder and sexual assault of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin. He has served 33 years of a life sentence.

Justice Bruce C. Mallonnee on Friday granted a motion by Dechaine's attorneys requesting additional DNA testing be conducted on evidence in the case.

Dechaine's attorneys argued during a December 2021 hearing before Mallonnee that new technology would allow items, including a T-shirt and bra, to be tested for DNA.

In his order, Mallonnee said it offered no opinion about whether the evidence has been contaminated or degraded.

Dechaine has appealed his conviction several times. In 2015, the Maine Supreme Court denied Dechaine’s request for a new trial, concluding that new DNA evidence wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the original trial.

Cherry was kidnapped while babysitting at a Bowdoin home on July 6, 1988. She was found two days later, murdered, mutilated, and sexually assaulted

A spokesperson for the Office of the Maine Attorney General said Monday that they would not appeal the decision.

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