Attorney General Aaron Frey claims that old evidence connecting Dennis Dechaine to the murder of Sarah Cherry overrides new test results excluding Dechaine as a contributor of DNA found on three items connected to the crime (“Maine AG says new DNA tests insufficient to overturn 34-year-old murder case,” Nov. 14).

. He added that Dechaine could not be excluded as a contributor of DNA on three other items, and that repeated past appeals by Dechaine have all failed.

The evidence used by the state against Dechaine was entirely circumstantial in nature, along with uncorroborated and highly suspect claims that Dechaine confessed. By contrast, significant evidence supporting Dechaine’s claim of innocence — the time-of-death; the absence of the victim’s scent, fingerprints, or hair in Dechaine’s truck; the type of blood found under the victim’s fingernails; and the DNA of a male who was not Dechaine derived from biological material found under a thumbnail — is all based on science.

The recent inconclusive results from which Dechaine’s DNA cannot be excluded would be inadmissible as evidence, thus bringing Frey’s ethics into question. With partial and degraded DNA profiles such as these , it is possible that neither Attorney General Frey nor I nor many readers of this letter could be excluded as well.

To view Frey’s motives in the best possible light, evidently he knows little about the history of this case, little about the significance of various DNA findings, or even of the nearly insurmountable legal barriers faced by the wrongfully convicted when making post-conviction appeals.

William Bunting


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