AUGUSTA — A man convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a young girl at knifepoint more than a decade ago was back in a courtroom Thursday, seeking to withdraw the guilty pleas he made, based on a change in genetic evidence.

Albert F. Dumas Jr., 47, formerly of North Whitefield, had pleaded guilty in March 2007 to kidnapping the Augusta girl, whom he apparently chose at random. She was crossing Capitol Street in Augusta, not far from the former Buker Middle School, on Aug. 13, 2006.

He admitted to tying her wrists, forcing her into his car and repeatedly sexually assaulting her during a drive to his Whitefield home and then at his house. The prosecutor at the time, Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley, told Justice Nancy Mills at that hearing that Dumas threatened several times to kill her if she didn’t comply.

Dumas was arrested hours after driving the girl back to Augusta and releasing her because she gave police a detailed description of Dumas, including his tattoos, the license plate number and make of his vehicle, his home and the route of travel. The girl picked Dumas’s photo from a lineup of convicted sex offenders. He was on the list for similar offenses with two other women.

For the offenses he was sentenced to 70 years, with 40 of those years to be served immediately and the remaining 30 suspended while he serves 12 years of probation.

His earliest release date from prison is Jan. 24, 2041, according to information on the state Department of Corrections website.

On Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh represented the state, and attorney Seth Berner represented Dumas. Dumas was brought from the Maine State Prison in Warren to testify at the hearing. He was shackled and wearing a bright orange, short-sleeved jail uniform.

The victim’s father and stepmother were in the courtroom to watch the proceedings. They were accompanied by the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office’s victim advocate.

The father said, “She’s definitely a survivor, but she’ll suffer from this for the rest of her life.” The victim did not attend the hearing.

Dumas was the only witness called by Berner.

“Ms. Ames did inform me that they had DNA evidence against me that connected me to the crime.” Dumas testified, referring to Pamela Ames, who was his defense attorney at trial. “She didn’t tell me it was a low percentage that connected me to the crime.”

Dumas said he became aware of that after being notified by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services that some of the DNA statistics in his case had changed. “It was for the better,” he said.

Berner asked whether it showed “a smaller probability that you were involved than the original numbers showed?”

Dumas said it did, and he would have opted to go to trial instead of pleading guilty.

“If I would have known that they didn’t have conclusive DNA, I never would have pled guilty,” Dumas testified Thursday.

When asked about the other evidence, he said, “Most of it was circumstantial; some of it was wrong. I would definitely have gone to trial.”

Cavanaugh called one witness as well, Catharine MacMillan, a forensic DNA analyst with the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory, who testified that she had analyzed samples taken from both Dumas and the victim.

She said she concluded that Dumas’ DNA profile matched that on a swab taken from the victim’s genitals and that a match to the girl’s DNA profile was found in a swab of human blood found on Dumas.

Berner said he had concerns about the chain of custody of the evidence, and Mills said Cavanaugh could bring witnesses to respond to that at a later date. In the meantime, the judge deferred ruling on the admissibility of some of the laboratory reports.

In November 2009, Mills denied a previous postconviction review petition by Dumas. In that filing, Dumas claimed he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial.

In that order, Mills wrote, “The petition testified that he ‘was not happy with any of it.’ But his predicament then, and now, results from his criminal conduct and his circumstances. He was represented very effectively.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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