Anthony H. Sanborn Jr. expects the 12 days of hearings that begin Tuesday to determine whether his murder conviction will be overturned are going to be a grueling test.

But after 27 years behind bars for a crime he says he did not commit, Sanborn, 45, said he is ready for the outcome – and to confront the people who helped convict him in 1992 of killing 16-year-old Jessica L. Briggs.

“For the most part, I’m ready,” he said. “I know the truth’s going to be heard. It’s going to be grueling, because I think some lies are going to be heard, too.”

Sanborn was set free on bail in April after the only eyewitness to the crime recanted her testimony.

Prosecutors with the Maine Attorney General’s Office are fighting to preserve the conviction. They say Sanborn is guilty and have denied allegations that police coerced witnesses or lied under oath.

Since his release, Sanborn has attempted to start a normal life with his wife, Michelle – he recently found a job at a doggy day care facility and feels like he can finally contribute to his household.

But the hearings have loomed over him, he said, and he wants the process over. He was ready to have the hearings over with in July, when they were originally scheduled.

During the next several days, Sanborn is expected to face the team that put him in prison: then-Assistant Attorneys General Pamela Ames and Donald Macomber, along with now-retired Portland police Detectives James Daniels and Daniel Young.

They are among dozens of witnesses identified by his attorneys, Amy Fairfield and Timothy Zerillo, along with a slew of other possible witnesses to be called by the prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General Meg Elam and Paul Rucha.

Sanborn has thought hard about what they might say or do when they take the stand.

“That’s the only thing I’ve thought about. Are they gonna plead the Fifth? Are they going to be just so well-rehearsed?” Sanborn said. “I don’t know if they’re capable of being human and having an emotion to care.”

He is also wondering why Daniels kept two boxes of case-related materials in his home, apparently for years, after he retired as a police officer.

“Will Daniels say, ‘I kept the boxes because I didn’t feel good about what happened’?”

“The most horrible stuff that happened and didn’t happen I’m having to hear replayed,” Sanborn said. “The only thing I’ve thought about it is will any one of them tell the truth?”

Asked if he felt confident about what’s going to happen, Sanborn wavered.

“I felt confident the first time that I wouldn’t be wrongfully convicted, so I won’t ever say I’m confident,” Sanborn said. “I have good faith in God. I have faith in Amy.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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