A Portland Press Herald file photo displayed Tuesday on a monitor in the Cumberland County Courthouse shows Glenn Brown being questioned by prosecutor Pamela Ames during the 1992 trail in which Anthony Sanborn was convicted for the murder of Jessica Briggs. Brown testified Tuesday during Sanborn’s post-conviction review that his trial testimony was false. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

A second key witness who testified in the original murder trial of Anthony H. Sanborn Jr. recanted his testimony in court Tuesday.

Glenn A. Brown Jr. of Biddeford told the court that he lied during the 1992 trial when he testified that he saw Sanborn the night before the murder with a knife, that Sanborn was upset and that he was looking for Jessica L. Briggs, the 16-year-old victim and Sanborn’s ex-girlfriend.

Brown, 47, said Tuesday that he lied in the trial because he was nervous around the police and afraid of going back to jail.

But under cross-examination from Assistant Attorney General Paul Rucha, Brown’s recollections seemed to show inconsistencies. For instance, he said he recalled being threatened by then-Assistant Attorney General Pamela Ames, who prosecuted the murder case, but could not remember when the meeting took place.

Brown also said some aspects of what he told police roughly 27 years ago were true, that he could not remember much now about what he told them, and that his memory when he originally spoke to police was better.

Sanborn, now 45, is trying to clear his name by challenging his 1992 conviction. He has claimed that police and prosecutors colluded to withhold evidence and coerce witnesses into testifying against him.

Both Briggs and Sanborn were 16 years old and living on the streets when Briggs was stabbed and slashed to death on the Maine State Pier. Her body was found May 24, 1989, dumped nearby in Portland Harbor. Sanborn quickly became a prime suspect, and was arrested in 1990.

Brown was 19 at the time of the murder and worked as a dishwasher at DiMillo’s floating restaurant, where Briggs also worked busing tables, and was among the street kids who hung around the Portland waterfront. The group included Sanborn and Briggs.

Witness Glenn Brown walks into the courthouse Tuesday. He recanted his original testimony against Anthony Sanborn. WCSH photo

STATEMENT SIGNATURES, STORY CHANGES

Now tan with short brown hair and a goatee, Brown gave his answers Tuesday in a voice so low he was frequently asked to repeat himself for attorneys or the judge.

During nearly three hours of testimony, Brown said Portland police detectives picked him up three or four times after the murder from his home in Kennedy Park on Anderson Street to question him, and that he couldn’t read or write at the time.

Under questioning Tuesday from Timothy Zerillo, one of Sanborn’s attorneys, Brown affirmed that his original police statement was read to him by a detective.

A written version of his statement to police bore the legible but shaky signature “Glenn A. Brown Jr.,” but Brown said he did not sign the document, does not use the “Jr.” in his signature, and that his signature has not changed over the years.

An affidavit that Brown signed in June 2016 when he previously recanted his testimony showed a different, illegible signature.

Brown also told police – and testified at trial – that he saw Sanborn and Briggs together at Peppermint Park in Portland about three nights before Briggs was killed, and that they seemed happy. Also among the group hanging out on a low stone wall that night was Hope Cady, Brown testified at trial.

Anthony Sanborn and his attorney Amy Fairfield confer during testimony by Glenn Brown during Tuesday’s session at the Cumberland County Courthouse. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

Cady was the only eyewitness in the case, testifying at trial that she saw Sanborn kill Briggs on the state pier. In April, Cady recanted her original trial testimony, saying police instructed her how to testify and threatened to jail her if she did not go along with their version of events. She said she was not even on the pier that night.

Cady, who was 13 at the time of Briggs’ murder, also was legally blind when she claimed to have seen Sanborn commit the crime at the end of a dimly lit pier.

Brown said Tuesday that none of the events he testified to during the trial happened, and that he had never met Cady until a chance encounter at the funeral of a mutual friend in Florida. He had not met her in 1989 during his teenage years in Portland, he said.

Justice Joyce Wheeler, who is overseeing Sanborn’s post-conviction review, explained to Brown before he testified Tuesday that he had a constitutional right to remain silent and that he could face charges of perjury if he recanted his original statement.

“I’m all set,” Brown replied.

An attorney, Merit T. Heminway, was on stand-by in case Brown decided to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Brown had said in an affidavit submitted during Sanborn’s bail hearing in April that he lied years ago about Sanborn’s movements around the time of the murder, under pressure from police and a prosecutor.

Brown said in the affidavit that the statement he gave to police was “99 percent false,” including an allegation that he saw scratch marks on Sanborn’s face a few days after the murder. Brown said he couldn’t read or write at the time he was interviewed by police, so he couldn’t have read over the typed statement or signed it.

“Before I testified in court I was told by (former prosecutor and assistant Maine Attorney General) Pam Ames if I didn’t testify to the written statement, I would be charged with a crime,” so he lied on the stand, Brown said in his affidavit.

SPOTTY RECOLLECTIONS IN TESTIMONY

During cross-examination Tuesday by Rucha, Brown said he did not write the affidavit – a private investigator for the defense team did – and that he checked over each line and paragraph after the dictation was complete.

“Did they tell you what to write?” Rucha asked.

“I told them what to write,” Brown said.

His recantation followed several days of testimony from the two Portland police detectives who investigated the murder.

Clear, independent recollections by police witnesses – of who said what, when and to whom – have been rare so far in the hearing. Detectives Daniel Young and James Daniels, the lead investigator in the case, have both relied heavily on contemporaneous notes, reports and other documents to refresh their memories.

Amy Fairfield, Sanborn’s attorney, has repeatedly drawn attention to discrepancies between the detectives’ handwritten notes and their trial testimony. She has offered nearly 100 exhibits, ranging from pink “while you were out” phone message slips to typed documents to pages of handwritten notes photocopied from flip-top pads. Some documents contain the handwriting of more than one detective, meaning each would have to testify about the relevant portions.

The testimony is painstaking, and attorneys on both sides are grappling with thousands of pages of documents.

Prosecutors at Sanborn’s original trial relied on a few key witnesses to establish Sanborn’s guilt, including Brown and Cady.

Another was Gerard Rossi, Sanborn’s friend and adult roommate, who testified that Sanborn confessed to him three times in increasing detail to killing Briggs.

Sanborn’s attorneys now contend that Rossi was wanted for sexually assaulting a young girl, that police knew it, and that they used the information and potential criminal charges to leverage Rossi to implicate Sanborn.

Prior testimony from Daniels and Young showed that police had obtained photographs of Rossi with a girl who was under age 14 engaged in sexual acts in Augusta. Who took those pictures – Sanborn or someone else – is disputed.

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

mbyrne@pressherald.com

Twitter: MattByrnePPH