Convicted murderer Dennis J. Dechaine pleaded not guilty Aug. 4 to a charge that he was in possession of prohibited materials, in the form of drugs, while incarcerated at the Maine State Prison.

Dechaine, who attended the hearing at Knox County Superior Court by way of a video hearing from the prison, was represented by attorney Jeremy Pratt. District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau represented the state at the hearing, which was heard by Judge John David Kennedy.

Dechaine, 52, has been at the Maine State Prison for more than 21 years for the murder in 1988 of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoinham.

Dechaine was indicted in mid-July for trafficking in prison contraband. The indictment alleged that Dechaine had morphine and/or klonopine on April 5 at the prison.

At the Aug. 4 hearing, Pratt said Dechaine’s attorney in the Cherry case, Steve Peterson, had expressed willingness to be retained to represent Dechaine on the drug charges.

Rushlau said he was not seeking bail because Dechaine was not a flight risk while he remained at the prison. The district attorney said he would ask to revisit the question of bail if a new trial in the Cherry case, currently being sought by Dechaine, were to be granted. Rushlau asked to be notified if Peterson was assigned to the drug case.

Dechaine has maintained his innocence in the murder of Cherry who was last seen alive while babysitting at a Bowdoinham home. Attorneys for Dechaine are attempting to introduce DNA evidence to try to win a new trial.

The Herald Gazette reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at

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