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  1. #1
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    ME - Sarah Cherry, 12, murdered in 1988 - "Trial & Error" group working to free man

    The Augusta chapter meets at Pat Christopher's house on the third Wednesday of every month. On the last Monday, the Madawaska chapter convenes above the police station. And on the fourth Tuesday are meetings of the Auburn-Lewiston and Freedom-Belfast chapters.

    Sarah Cherry, 12, was raped and killed in the woods of Maine in 1988.

    These are not book groups or penny poker games. At these meetings, the topic might be DNA under a murdered girl's thumbnail or the time of death in a coroner's report.

    And the attendees have an unusually zealous mission: freeing a man convicted 16 years ago of what many consider to be Maine's most notorious crime.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/28/na...&partner=TOPIX
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?


    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mysteriew
    The Augusta chapter meets at Pat Christopher's house on the third Wednesday of every month. On the last Monday, the Madawaska chapter convenes above the police station. And on the fourth Tuesday are meetings of the Auburn-Lewiston and Freedom-Belfast chapters.

    Sarah Cherry, 12, was raped and killed in the woods of Maine in 1988.

    These are not book groups or penny poker games. At these meetings, the topic might be DNA under a murdered girl's thumbnail or the time of death in a coroner's report.

    And the attendees have an unusually zealous mission: freeing a man convicted 16 years ago of what many consider to be Maine's most notorious crime.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/28/na...&partner=TOPIX
    I have never heard of this group. How unusual for a group to form specifically for the purpose of getting this man out of jail.

    From what I read, it certainly sounds as if there was a good circumstantial case against the man for this murder. But in the heat of investigating the brutal killing of a young girl, it's possible LE made some errors (or planted evidence???).

    It will be interesting to see how effective this group is in obtaining this man's freedom.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    I have never heard of this group.
    I'm not surprised since these groups focus on a local case in Maine.

    How unusual for a group to form specifically for the purpose of getting this man out of jail.


    I was living in Maine at the time of the murder and even though I personally don't have an opinion on the matter for lack of factual knowledge, I recall that many people were convinced that the investigation had been mishandled.

    The judicial system in Maine, which is one of the few states that never had the death penalty (it would even be illegal there to execute individuals convicted of a Federal capital offense in the state), prides itself in taking the utmost precaution against wrongful convictions, an attitude dating back to the Pilgrims apparently. This is even truer of cases involving a heinous crime such as this one.

    While such a case probably wouldn't be cause for serious concern in most states in Maine convictions based purely on circumstantial evidence are frequently overturned in appelate courts. The result, according to some, is that LE may be enticed to attempt at building a stronger case by using dubious means of obtaining evidence. As far as I know there is no proof of evidence tampering happening on a regular basis but public opinion takes it into account nonetheless and so do legislators, for obvious political considerations.

    It will be interesting to see how effective this group is in obtaining this man's freedom.
    It will indeed.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlK
    I
    I was living in Maine at the time of the murder and even though I personally don't have an opinion on the matter for lack of factual knowledge, I recall that many people were convinced that the investigation had been mishandled.
    Have you heard anything more about this case? It's been quite some time since I posted my last message, and haven't had a chance to keep up with this.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marilynilpa
    Have you heard anything more about this case? It's been quite some time since I posted my last message, and haven't had a chance to keep up with this.
    This detailed timeline linked below should bring you up to speed with the case, which is still very active.

    http://www.trialanderrordennis.org/chronology.shtml

    Dechaine appears to be an unlikely suspect. For those who think it's odd for someone to roam the woods without apparent purpose let me tell you that up there in northern Maine during the summer people do that all the time riding ATV's, trail bikes, SUV's, bicycles, cars even, or just walking about exploring trails of which there are hundreds in the mountains. It's like talking a walk in the park in the city when the weather is nice. Dechaine's presence in the woods would have seem perfectly normal to locals, despite the prosecution's claim that this behavior was suspicious.

    Like I said before I don't think I know enough about the case to base a definitive opinion upon, but if the ME's time of death is accurate, and it should be since the body was found shortly after death, then it's unlikely that Dechaine had anything to do with the murder. There is also Dechaine's character, a well regarded, highly educated married man with nothing in his background indicative of sexual deviancy. It would seem logical that whoever took Cherry probably knew her and knew that she would be on her own babysitting that day so I probably would focus on relatives and friends first. There appears to be no physical evidence linking Dechaine with Cherry and the circumstantial evidence should actually have played in his favor with regards to the time of death. Maybe the competence of Dechaine's legal team should be questioned.

  6. #6
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    Thanks much for the update, KarlK. I need to get "up to speed" on this one.

  7. #7
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    I was wondering if this 'Trial & Error' group has ever looked into any other cases? I've got a few that I'd certainly like to get some other people interested in, and see if we could figure out how to get the real killer nailed instead of innocent men. Yeah, I'm tracking a serial killer, and he's gotten by with soooooo much, because no one will consider him, even though there's a mountain of circumstantial evidence against him.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I was wondering if this 'Trial & Error' group has ever looked into any other cases?
    As far as I know "Trial and Error" groups are exclusively dedicated to the Dechaine case but since they've been working on it for so long I would imagine that some members have acquired expertise (and a taste for) investigative reviews and judicial analysis.

    I'm not sure that's what you're looking for, perhaps the Vidocq Society would consider your case if you submitted it. They are more into unsolved murders than Trial and Error.

    http://www.vidocq.org/

  9. #9
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    Feb 2007
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    cases

    It's my understanding that the Vidocq Society only accepts cases sent by law enforcement. I'm afraid some of the ones I mentioned would not qualify.

    http://users.1st.net/mwells/StarlightInnerPrizes.htm

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    It's my understanding that the Vidocq Society only accepts cases sent by law enforcement. I'm afraid some of the ones I mentioned would not qualify.

    http://users.1st.net/mwells/StarlightInnerPrizes.htm
    Yes, I think you are right about Vidocq. They are rather picky.

    I guess your best bet could be the folks who successfully lobbied Illinois Governor Ryan to suspend the death penalty in that state due to the high number of cases of judicial errors,malicious prosecuting and incompetent defense. Unfortunately I don't remember what this group calls itself


  11. #11
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    There is a group called The Innocence Project I've seen their name attached to some people who have been released from prison. There are a lot of links for the project in each individual state if you do a search on innocence project. The Innocence Project is the ones who got Steven Avery out of prison. Info at the bottom of the page at link
    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=579038

    Truth in Justice is also about the wrongly convicted.
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?


    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  12. #12
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    Feb 2007
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    Innocence Projects

    Yes, I'm familiar with the 'Innocence Projects,' and once spoke to David Protess in Ill. concerning one of the cases that I am interested in. He encouraged me to not give up, but said he only worked Illinois cases. Well, I haven't given up, but the cases are stacking up to the point that I can't keep up with them, and I've gone about as far as a common citizen can go. I've written a book series about many of the cases; http://users.1st.net/mwells/Pure.htm
    and I've posted a great deal of information on my web site in hopes that the right people would some day come along. So far it hasn't happened. Maybe tomorrow.
    http://users.1st.net/mwells/SymbolicCases.htm
    http://users.1st.net/mwells/WithoutATraceSeries.htm
    http://users.1st.net/mwells/Lookin4AKiller.htm

  13. #13
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    Jul 2004
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    I don't know what state you are looking for. But if you run the keywords Project Innocence in google, you will find many states have them.
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?


    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  14. #14
    New DNA Being Tested From 1988 Murder of Sarah Cherry

    Additional testing on clothing belonging to a 12-year-old Maine girl who was murdered in 1988 has revealed male DNA, but it's too early to say what the evidence means.

    The DNA has not yet been compared with other samples, including DNA from Dennis Dechaine, the man serving a life sentence after being convicted of killing Sarah Cherry of Bowdoin.

    More: http://www.wabi.tv/news/33696/new-dn...f-sarah-cherry

  15. #15
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    I've followed this case for years and just found this thread. Thanks for posting it mysteriew!

    I've always felt that Dennis was railroaded.....years ago I watched Jerry Palace cover it for Court TV's "The Wrong Man" series and I was absolutely convinced that he had been wrongly convicted. This poor guy is still locked up! Here's a link to it

    http://www.trialanderrordennis.org/2...-investigates/

    I miss watching The Wrong Man....really good documentaries...)

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