A judge in Portland will decide whether attorneys for Anthony H. Sanborn Jr. will be allowed to introduce two expert witnesses who believe Jessica L. Briggs was murdered by a serial killer during testimony at Sanborn’s conviction review hearing next week.

Sanborn, who was convicted of stabbing Briggs to death in 1989, was granted bail in April after serving about 24 years of a 70-year sentence. A judge will decide after the hearing whether his conviction should be thrown out.

Although prosecutors are trying to exclude the experts designated by Amy Fairfield, Sanborn’s attorney, Fairfield argues that police originally sought help from FBI criminal profilers after the murder – a fact not previously disclosed to his attorneys – making the current expert testimony relevant in determining the validity of Sanborn’s conviction.

Fairfield wrote in a July 14 pleading that she learned of the prior FBI criminal profile in files pulled from the attic of Portland Police Detective James Daniels, the lead investigator in the case, who turned over two boxes of case information this spring after Sanborn was granted bail, according to court documents.

Prosecutors are arguing that Fairfield’s conclusions are entirely speculative and too inconclusive to be allowed into evidence.

Fairfield alleges that records show Daniels received a preliminary assessment of the personality of Briggs’s killer by staff at the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.

“The assessment informed (the Portland Police Department) that Briggs’ killer was a sexual deviant who had violent fantasies his entire life, who was likely into bondage and had a large stash of pornography, likely someone who ‘looked like a cop,’ and would express ‘no remorse’ for the victim, (and) who would blame the victim for being killed,” Fairfield wrote. “There is no evidence that sixteen-year-old Anthony Sanborn fit that profile in the slightest.”

Briggs, who briefly dated Sanborn, was stabbed and slashed to death in May 1989 on the Maine State Pier. Her body was found in Portland Harbor.

Police focused on the groups of teenagers close to Briggs who congregated unsupervised in city parks and apartments where adults allowed them to stay. Briggs, who was a runaway from the Maine Youth Center, was trying to get her life back on track when she died.

At trial, police and prosecutors said Sanborn met Briggs on the waterfront the night she was killed, after Briggs got out of work from her job busing tables at DiMillo’s floating restaurant. Prosecutors said Sanborn killed Briggs because she refused to accompany him to Virginia Beach or to give him tip money she earned that night.

Prosecutors relied on the testimony of Hope Cady, who was 13 when she claimed to have witnessed Sanborn commit the murder from a concealed vantage point on a nearby pier.

Sanborn has maintained his innocence, but he was convicted by a jury and sentenced in 1993 to 70 years in Maine State Prison.

His case was given new life after 2016, when Fairfield was appointed as his attorney and began reinvestigating the case. She ultimately filed a petition for post-conviction review.

In court papers, Fairfield has alleged prosecutorial misconduct and wrongdoing by police who improperly coerced witness testimony and hid evidence from Sanborn’s defense team.

At a bail hearing in April, Cady, now living in Augusta, recanted her 1992 testimony, and said Portland police coerced her into implicating Sanborn, threatening to lock her up if she did not comply.

Daniels and his partner in the investigation, Daniel Young, have denied any wrongdoing. The prosecutor at the time, then-Assistant Attorney General Pamela Ames, also has denied misconduct.

Sanborn was released on bail after Justice Joyce Wheeler found that Sanborn had a likelihood of succeeding in his pending post-conviction review.

The upcoming hearings, slated for July 24-26 and Aug. 1-4 in Portland, could feature dozens of witnesses for both sides.

That includes testimony from the two expert witnesses, retired psychologist Dr. John Philpin and retired FBI Agent Gregg McCrary, who are both expected to testify that they believe Briggs’s murder was a sexual homicide, showed signs of overkill, and was therefore likely committed by a serial killer.

McCrary also suggested reviewing other unsolved homicides in the region in a search for similar crimes, according to a summary of his expected testimony submitted in court documents.

“While it would be premature to link this case without further in-depth analysis, these are the type of crimes that, in the interest of justice, should be cross-referenced and analyzed to determine whether or not they could be linked,” McCrary wrote.

Philpin’s report theorizes what happened during the confrontation on the pier. He wrote that Briggs likely went there to meet a man to exchange sex for money, but the encounter quickly turned violent as the man struck her in the face, slit her throat and stabbed her multiple times, nearly disemboweling her.

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

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