PORTLAND — Dennis Dechaine’s DNA profile will be tested against unidentified profiles found on several items of clothing worn by Sara Cherry, who was kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered in 1988.

“We’ve gotten the preliminary results back from Orchid Cellmark (the Texas-based testing facility) and for the first time … we have now detected male gender DNA on the bra, the shirt and one end of the scarf,” said defense attorney Steven Peterson in an interview with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

“We don’t have any comparisons yet to work with. And so we’re into that next step now,” said Peterson in the interview. “Bill Stokes from the AG’s office and I have agreed to send down a whole blood sample of Dennis Dechaine’s blood to be tested against the new DNA that we’ve located. And I assume there will be further testing with other specimens as well.”

Dechaine, 54, was convicted in 1989 for the crimes against Cherry. He is serving a life sentence, but he always has proclaimed his innocence.

Cherry was 12-years-old when she was kidnapped from a babysitting job in Bowdoin. Her body was found less than three miles away. She had been sexually assaulted, stabbed and strangled with her scarf.

Since July 2011, Peterson has been attempting to appeal Dechaine’s case based on DNA evidence. DNA material found last year under Cherry’s fingernails suggested the presence of an unidentified male figure, besides Dechaine, at her death. In June, Dechaine sought a new trial. It was his fifth attempt.


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