February 6

Paper should apply same standards to Dechaine’s case

LETTER

Regarding the disappearance of little Ayla Reynolds, missing some 25 months, this paper wisely editorialized; “Prosecutors and police have stated all along that their focus is on building the case ... instead of placating public opinion. They can’t be forced into action, no matter how ... heartbreaking is the anguish surrounding the case.”

Clearly police, prosecutors and also some editors have learned important lessons in the more than 25 years since Sarah Cherry was murdered, when officials were convinced that they had solved the case in but a matter of hours, and headline writers convicted Dennis Dechaine even before the jury did.

In all the years since, despite great controversy, no new evidence has been added to the state’s case against Dechaine. On the other hand, a great deal of exculpatory evidence has surfaced, including powerful scientific findings and significant evidence that was withheld from the defense, including the notes of two detectives that contradict their testimony that Dechaine confessed.

No reasonably intelligent and unbiased person, having reviewed all the evidence now available, can deny at least the strong possibility that an innocent man has been imprisoned for life, while the state, in stubborn denial, in effect, has protected the torturer and killer of a little girl. Having recognized the dangers of a rush to judgment in the Ayla Reynolds case, this paper should be supporting the call for a retrial for Dennis Dechaine.

William BuntingWhitefield
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