At the hearing before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court regarding the Dennis Dechaine case, one justice referred to the scarf with which Sarah Cherry was strangled as “Sarah’s scarf.”

While common sense should tell us that it would be most unlikely that a girl kidnapped from a home that was not her own on a sweltering summer day would have been wearing a woolen scarf, anyone who has followed this case knows that simple logic should never be assumed.

Establishing ownership of the scarf is critical because the justice referred several times to the possible significance of a partial DNA profile obtained from the scarf from which Dechaine could not be excluded.

Dechaine claims that the scarf was his, a gift from a friend (the son of a retired Maine Law School professor), and that the killer removed the scarf from Dechaine’s parked truck. Obviously, Dechaine’s DNA could be expected to be found on his own scarf, and DNA from the scarf could have been transferred to other clothing it contacted.

Not mentioned was the more complete DNA profile obtained from the scarf from which the prime alternate suspect cannot be excluded.

William Bunting


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