Who Killed Sarah Cherry?
E-mail By James P. Moore
A real-life mystery told in
The true story of a murdered girl; one treacherous lawyer; an honest attorney with lots of guts, one brave wife and mother who wouldn't give up on her friend, an innocent man serving life imprisonment; and the ruthless prosecutors who railroaded him, still hiding the truth via official cover-ups. And yet, even more appalling, official police reports indicate that the cops could have saved that little girl's life . . . but they didn't!
It was a warm and sunny Wednesday in July of 1988 when pretty, 12-year-old Sarah Cherry vanished from the home in rural Bowdoinham, Maine where she'd been babysitting. Papers were found in the driveway of that house - papers bearing the name, Dennis Dechaine. By 8:30 that evening, police were interrogating this 30-year-old farmer. Dechaine had emerged from a woods where Sarah's body would be found on Friday. She'd been tortured, abused and strangled to death.
Dechaine had never before been arrested, never even suspected of violent or deviant conduct. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In Maine, where parole has been outlawed, a life sentence means you stay in prison until you die.
Problem: the state's own scientific evidence - facts they misrepresented and reports they concealed completely -- proves that Dennis Dechaine couldn't possibly have committed the crime. Added to those scientific findings, a DNA analysis detected specimens of blood from two persons under Sarah's fingernails. One may have been Sarah's own blood; the other was neither hers, nor was it Dechaine's. Whose was it?
Friends of Dechaine, led by Mrs. Carol Waltman, organized into a group calling itself Trial & Error. They wrote letters to newspaper editors and held meetings around the state in the hope of getting a new trial. Lawyer Tom Connolly mounted appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Another team of lawyers took up the challenge. All the lawyers failed. Weren't the judges listening?
It has been firmly established that prosecutors withheld evidence, made false statements and still resist every effort to re-open the case. Other, more likely suspects were ignored by the police. Every legal avenue was blocked. With no other hope for justice, retired U.S. Treasury agent James P. Moore wrote this book presenting the documented proofs gathered by lawyer Connolly, the Trial & error people, and himself - evidence from witnesses, police and court records demonstrating how prosecutors violated Dechaine's rights to get their conviction.
The State's own evidence proves scientifically that Dechaine can't possibly be guilty. And yet, even more horrifying than the circumstance of a man serving life for a crime he didn't commit, there is the sickening evidence that policemen were only yards away from Sarah in that woods while her murderer tightened the knot around her throat. The state's own documents clearly suggest that the cops could have saved her life if they hadn't been so confident in their easy-instant conclusion that Dechaine was guilty.
If all this seems too terrible to be true, read the book. If you don't want to buy it, ask your library to acquire it. Human Sacrifice is drawn from court records, trial transcripts, official files, police reports, and recorded witness interviews. Examine the evidence yourself. Weigh the facts. Make your own decision.
Another shocking fact uncovered during the probe of this case: lawyers violate their own code of conduct and spill their clients' secrets with all the aplomb of elderly ladies gossiping over the back fence. Their colleagues know, but they don't report these violations to their Bar Association. Perhaps because that would be futile - Maine's Board of Bar Overseers shows more interest in the image of their peers than in the welfare of the public they claim to protect. Again, the evidence for these conclusions is documented in Human Sacrifice.
"A story as taut and gripping as any John Grisham novel. This is an important book, and it will trouble you, enrage you, even scare you because, unlike any mere novel, it is drawn from a real case. Whether you believe Dennis Dechaine innocent or guilty, this book will force you to take a closer look at our justice system -- and how it may have gone horribly wrong." –
Tess Gerritsen, NY Times Best Selling author of THE SURGEON
Dennis Dechaine entered the penitentiary in 1988 at the age of thirty You might be next - you're innocent, too, aren't you?
Maine's governor could issue a pardon. The state's legislature could investigate and take action. The state's attorney general could cease his office's stubborn, arrogant resistance to a new trial. But that's unlikely. It was the AG's prosecutors who perpetrated and perpetuate this cold act of inhumanity.
If the imprisonment of an innocent man arouses sympathy for him, if you feel anger toward the officials who sacrificed Dennis Dechaine on the alter of their image, if the knowledge that a murderous pervert walks free among us to claim more little girls at will - if any of this arouses fear and rage, if you care at all, demand action. Write to the governor of the State of Maine. Write to newspapers and TV stations in Maine and everywhere else. Express your feelings. Demand Justice. Ask this state to reassure its one million citizens and the two-million vacationers who visit us each year that Mainers really do value truth and justice.
Dennis Dechaine has already endured fourteen endless years of agonizing, undeserved imprisonment. Can you give five minutes and a postage stamp? Examine the evidence, decide your verdict, share your thoughts and feelings:
Governor Angus King
Michael V. Saxl
Richard A. Bennett
Human Sacrifice, may be ordered ($15.00) from
Anatomy of a Railroad
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