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Maine judge rejects convicted killer Dennis Dechaine's bid for new trial

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PORTLAND, Maine — Convicted killer Dennis Dechaine lost his bid for a new trial based on DNA evidence when a judge ruled that the evidence wouldn't have changed the outcome of his original trial.

Dechaine was convicted of murder in the 1988 killing of 12-year-old Bowdoin resident Sarah Cherry, whose body was found two days after she went missing while baby-sitting. He has maintained his innocence.

Dechaine's attorney, Steven Peterson, of Rockport, told the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/R7osQb) that he received a copy of the decision by Superior Court Justice Carl Bradford on Thursday.

"He (Bradford) came to the conclusion that if we had this DNA evidence when this case went to trial we still would not have met our burden of proof," Peterson told the newspaper.

Dechaine previously said Bradford "made up his mind in 1988."

Dechaine, a Bowdoinham farmer who was 30 at the time of the killing, requested a new trial based on DNA evidence obtained from one of Sarah's fingernails and additional DNA from her shirt, bra and scarf. Prosecutors had described the efforts by Dechaine's lawyer as "a wild goose chase."

Bradford, who heard several days of testimony about the DNA evidence in November, presided over Dechaine's trial and sentenced him to life in prison. The judge is now retired but still hears cases.


Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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