PORTLAND — A preliminary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow in Dennis Dechaine’s longrunning bid to get a new trial in his murder case.

Dechaine, 53, is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in 1988 in the Sagadahoc County town of Bowdoin.

He has maintained that he is innocent, but four appeals have been unsuccessful at the state and federal levels. Dechaine’s latest motion for a new trial was filed in August 2008.

Justice Carl O. Bradford, who presided over the 1989 trial, is expected to hear arguments today on three defense motions.

Dechaine’s lead lawyer, Steve Peterson of Rockport, has filed a motion for Bradford to recuse himself from the case; a motion to present time-of-death evidence at the future hearing on the bid for a new trial; and a motion to compare a DNA fragment found on Sarah Cherry’s body with the state’s DNA database of convicted felons.

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Cumberland County Superior Court. Dechaine, serving his sentence at Maine State Prison in Warren, will not be at the hearing.

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