Evidence favoring Dechaine piles up

Thanks to the Portland Press Herald for publishing an article on its front page about new opinions relating to the Dennis Dechaine case (“Analyses by two experts offer hope to Dechaine.” Feb. 25).

It is interesting that the prosecutor in the case was not and is not interested in two key pieces of evidence.

One is murder victim Sarah Cherry’s time of death. Prosecutor William Stokes states, “Dr. (Ronald) Roy never gave, and the state never relied upon, a precise time of death.” If the prosecutor’s job was to seek justice, why didn’t the medical examiner give, and why didn’t the state rely upon, the estimated time of death?

Was this because the evidence did not support the state’s case against Mr. Dechaine since, at the estimated time of death, based on the autopsy, Mr. Dechaine was already in police custody?

The second piece of evidence is DNA. Again, the prosecution viewed this as inconsequential. Inconsequential? Dozens of innocent people are being exonerated as a result of DNA evidence, many saved from death row. I dare say they do not consider DNA evidence inconsequential.


As for the DNA being transferred during the autopsy, it has been determined that the DNA belongs to an unknown male and not to Mr. Dechaine or any male present at the autopsy.

One can only wonder why the prosecution continues to downplay evidence that exonerates Mr. Dechaine.

Genie Nakell



Perhaps the conclusion by two renowned forensic pathologists, Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. Walter Hofman, that Sarah Cherry probably died 16 to 20 hours after Dennis Dechaine was in police custody, will mark the beginning of the ending of this tragic and shameful episode of Maine history.


Deputy Attorney General William Stokes’ response, inferring that death occurred long after the killer left the scene, is also notable in that Stokes did not mention that Sarah’s neck was constricted to 3 inches or less, surely resulting in a quick death.

Stokes has stated that the DNA of an unknown male found under the girl’s thumbnail bears no logical connection to the killer, while prosecutor Eric Wright has claimed that the DNA is of no significance because Dechaine had no scratches on him!

At trial, the state successfully opposed DNA testing, and after Dechaine filed an appeal, Deputy Attorney General Fern LaRochelle ordered the incineration of possible DNA evidence.

Over the past 21 years, not one new fact has surfaced supporting the state’s case against Dechaine, while a mountain of exculpatory evidence – including proof that the damning testimony of two detectives was contradicted by their own notes – has been uncovered.

For the past 21 years, Dennis Dechaine has sought a new trial, one in which a jury would hear all of the evidence. In effect, the state would also be on trial, and perhaps that is why Stokes, in increasingly desperate opposition, makes statements that would be laughable were the circumstances not so tragic.

William Bunting




Media ought to have left Tiger’s peccadillos alone

Tiger Woods specializes in using a stick to hit a white ball into a hole, and is paid grotesque amounts of money for doing so.

Unlike many other people – including many athletes – he does not appear to have made any meaningful contributions to society.

His recent press conference did not merit the broad coverage that this paper provided. A photo taking up the entire front page above the fold?


You’d think he had brokered a peace settlement in the Middle East. You only perpetuate everything that is wrong with society today – the blind adulation of sports and entertainment figures and the love of scandal.

Paul Ester

South Portland


I am so tired of Americans sticking their noses into another’s business. Yes, in part, I am referring to Tiger Woods. When was anyone of us elected the morality police? What he did was ethically wrong, but does he owe us an apology? I don’t think so.

His problems should be between himself, his wife and their respective families. For the rest of us, it’s none of our business. He owes us nothing.


Were large corporations hurt? Who cares, they made tons of money off him and now they’re crying in their beer. Tough! Why do the news media feel that he owes them anything? He didn’t do anything to them. All they want is some dirt to fabricate on. They need to crawl back under a rock where most snakes hide.

What has happened to our belief of live and let live? When did we lose sight of the fact that we are human beings and we do make mistakes? When did we start thinking that everyone owes us something. even if it’s an apology for something that is none of our business?

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and we all live in glass houses – like it or not!

Elizabeth Field


Health care fuss ignores problems of other programs


The annual Social Security statements have been mailed to millions of Americans. It is interesting that at the federal level, our politicians are bickering over health care, cap and trade, card check and various other new complex issues that will adversely affect the taxpaying public’s pocketbook.

They do not seem to be interested in the soundness of Medicare or Social Security. Perhaps the inside game for those in the know is that one of the new tax-and-spend programs will solve the guaranteed insolvency of Social Security benefits.

My recently received Social Security statement, dated Jan. 26, 2010, states in bold with an asterisk: “Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2037 (27 years from now – this applies to all of those 38 or younger!) the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 76 percent of scheduled benefits.”

So don’t you feel comfortable paying into this marquee government-run program, overseen by our representatives in Congress, knowing it is akin to financing granite countertops in the kitchen while the roof is leaking?

How about our federal representatives focusing on what is broken and the employing the “Seven P’s” – Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pathetic Program Performance!

A.J. Ballard



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