In part two of ":The Dechaine Debate": Catherine Pegram introduces us to those who say justice has for Dechaine already been served. 20 years ago in July, Sarah Cherry was kidnapped from her babysitting job – then strangled, stabbed and tortured.
Ever since, her family, the community and law enforcement have had live that pain again and again – a pain they say they shouldn’t have to suffer.
The right man’s in jail – lets go on with life, let the family go on with their life.":
Bowdoin selectman Roy Letourneau clearly remembers the day Sarah Cherry was found murdered. No one here can forget it.
":I can’t imagine losing a child to start with but to have to keep reliving it every single year because it ends up in the newspaper and in the media again – it brings all of those wounds all open to the mother.":
":I know the family – it’s hard to understand what they went through and this case keeps going on and on and on.":
Dennis Dechaine was convicted of the crime and has fought to prove his innocence for years, this summer, his lawyer will file a motion for a new trial, based on scientific evidence.
Letourneau admits the case may not have been handled as well as it could have been.
":Not blaming anybody, casting stones, but if all of it had come out, it would have shown more I think that the right man is in jail.": Prosecutors and investigators are also convinced they got the right man. ":People need to understand, Dennis Dechaine killed this girl":
Mark Westrum, now the sheriff in Sagadahoc county, says Dechaine confessed the crime to him the night he was booked. Four year’s after this interview, Westrum tells TV5 ": i’ll go to my grave knowing the right man is where he belongs for the rest of his life.":
":Any doubt in your mind the right killer is behind bars No, no doubt at all. Seriously, he’s a monster. He may look like a good guy but inside he’s a monster.":
Lead detective Al Hendsbee, who died two years after this final interview with TV5, said all the facts point to Dechaine. Then there are the jurors, who talked about the case three years ago.
":It may be that only he and Sarah and God will ever know the true answers to any of the questions. In my mind, he’s guilty.":
":I can’t imagine not showing any emotion over what happened to that poor little lady. And that struck me – the fact there wasn’t any emotion shown.":
Even today Kim Milton tells TV5 she still feels Dechaine is guilty. ":She loved life…that’s how we always remembered her.":
Peg Cherry talked about her granddaughter on tv last year – but most of the time her family avoids the media and turned down our interview requests. A family spokesperson says they’re simply tired of defending the conviction of a killer – and reliving Sarah’s murder.
":If they wouldn’t keep bringing it up, it’d make it that much easier to heal. It’s like picking at a scab – it keeps the sore open. And I think it’s time to close it.":
Many of the people you saw in this story say even though they’re convinced of Dechaine’s guilt, they’re ready for the spotlight on the case to fade. Which is why they talked with TV5 on the phone but turned down on-camera interviews.
Deputy attorney general Bill Stokes tells TV5 prosecutors in the AG’s office will do their talking in the courtroom and vigorously defend the verdict if Dechaine files for a new trial.
Dechaine has until September first to do that, based on a new law that makes it easier for inmates to prove their innocence through D-N-A testing.