The only purported eyewitness to the murder of Jessica Briggs affirmed her recantation of testimony in 1992 that helped convict Anthony Sanborn of the grisly slaying.

Hope Cady, 41, of Augusta said from the witness stand Tuesday in Sanborn’s post-conviction review hearing that she was telling the truth for the first time about really happened when she told Justice Joyce Wheeler in April that she never witnessed the murder.

Cady, now represented by attorney David Bobrow, spoke softly as she struggled to recall what she said in court seven months ago, and what occurred between Briggs’ slaying in 1989 and Sanborn’s conviction in 1992.

“Did you believe something would happen to you if you didn’t tell police Tony Sanborn murdered Jessica Briggs?” asked Timothy Zerillo, one of Sanborn’s attorneys.

“Possibly, yes,” Cady replied.

“What were you afraid of?” Zerillo asked.


“Everything,” she said.

During questioning, Cady also revealed that she called Amy Fairfield, the other attorney representing Sanborn in the review hearing, and asked to set up a meeting between her and Sanborn.

Bobrow objected, and said any suggestion that she sought to apologize should be excluded because of her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the possibility of civil liability in the future; Wheeler instructed Zerillo to move on.

Cady also pushed back against the assertion by the Attorney General’s Office, made in court pleadings, that Fairfield coerced her recantation.

“Did Amy Fairfield ever make you change your testimony?” Zerillo asked.

“No,” Cady said.


“Why did you feel it was important to tell the truth in April?” Zerillo asked.

“I felt it was the right thing to do,” Cady said.

Assistant Attorney General Meg Elam cross-examined Cady for only a couple of minutes. Elam handed Cady a document, a note she had written to retired Portland Police Detective James Daniels, who was the lead investigator in Brigg’s killing.

In the note, Cady informed Daniels she would be moving to a group home in Ellsworth, and told him he could find her through her Department of Human Services caseworker in Biddeford.

Cady testified said during Sanborn’s 1992 trial that she witnessed Sanborn stab and kill the 16-year-old Briggs on the Maine State Pier on May 24, 1989. Cady had repeated interactions with police, and came forward shortly before Sanborn’s trial. She was 13 at the time she said she saw the murder, and was still a teenager when she testified.

In addition to the recantation, Fairfield has alleged in court filings that Cady had serious vision problems that were not corrected at the time of the murder and not made known to Sanborn’s defense team. Cady, who also was a ward of the state, was one of the so-called “street kids” who roamed Portland’s streets, drinking, doing drugs and avoiding the police or their parents. Many spent time in and out of the Maine Youth Center – now called Long Creek Youth Development Center – the primary juvenile detention facility in Maine.


Cady’s DHS case file was turned over to Fairfield during her investigation of the case and led to the discovery of the vision records, which were cited in her court filings.

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

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