For many years I was certain that Dennis Dechaine was the perpetrator of the heinous crime of sexually assaulting and murdering 12-year-old Sarah Cherry. Everything I read and felt pointed to him. I even spoke to the DA about the crime and became more convinced than ever about his guilt. Dechaine said he was not to blame, and he has pleaded innocent for the past 34 years. But how was I to trust the veracity of someone who shoots up narcotics in the very area where the body was found?

And yet, how many guilty people have, as Dechaine has done, offered to pay for their own DNA testing? (“Maine AG says new DNA tests insufficient to overturn 34-year-old murder case,” Nov. 14)

DNA does not lie. It is real science and doesn’t take sides. The latest results from this case show that it is highly unlikely that Dennis Dechaine committed the crime. The state of Maine is still hanging on to the idea that Dechaine is nevertheless guilty, and there’s a very small chance he might be, but there is such ambiguity that at the least, he deserves a new trial.

Probably I am naive, but I like to think that the AG’s office is searching for the truth wherever it might lead. However, they seem to have made up their minds long ago that Dechaine is guilty, and they have discarded the new DNA evidence.

The murder of Sarah Cherry was an atrocious crime, and it had to be solved immediately. It happened in a small town, and this was unthinkable. The case was rushed.

Without someone else to take Dechaine’s place in prison, the state won’t budge because the potential shame of being wrong would be too much to bear. The people involved can’t imagine anything worse. Well, I can, and that’s keeping an innocent man in prison for 34 years.

Stuart Silverstein


Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.