My Aug. 10 newspaper has two front-page articles that suggest the Dennis Dechaine case could be far from over.
One, “Missive’s location remains mystery,” describes an alleged note — now missing — from Gov. Paul LePage threatening to withhold $500,000 in state funding to Good Will-Hinckley if the board of directors did not rescind its job offer to House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick.
In the Dechaine case, the state police log for June 29, 1992 (soon after Dechaine filed a motion for retrial) states that Detective Steven Drake “received a written statement from Sheila Appleton. See attached.” At the head of the log is typed a note stating that Drake believed the attorney general’s office received “the enclosures,” which are now missing.
There is ample reason to believe Appleton’s statement described her brother’s confession to killing Sarah Cherry. Appleton is deceased, but another woman confirms that this is what Appleton told her after hearing the confession. The attorney general’s office, responding to a FOIA request, hypothesizes that Appleton’s missing statement may have retracted her claim that her brother confessed. If that is the case, why wasn’t this offered as central to the state’s case against Dechaine? LePage’s physical note is not considered essential to Eves’s case, while Appleton’s could exonerate a man in prison for life.
The second story, “Police temporarily suspending Canton property search,” reports about the searching for the remains of a 17-year-old Jay girl missing since 1986 and assumed murdered.
I applaud their efforts and wish them success, but would ask why the same energy is not being expended bringing Sarah Cherry’s real murderer to justice. Is it because too many investigators, prosecutors, judges, columnists and members of the media will look bad if the incontrovertible evidence of Dechaine’s innocence is ever allowed to surface?