Whitefield has become something of a hotbed of supporters for a thorough investigation into the notorious Sarah Cherry/ Dennis Dechaine case. This case, involving the 1988 torture and murder of 12-year old Sarah in Bowdoin in July of 1988, which resulted in the conviction of Dennis Dechaine, at the time raised troubling questions in the minds of many Mainers. 

These concerns were revived by the publication in 2002 of the book Human Sacrifice by Jim Moore, a retired federal agent. The opening of the Office of the Attorney General's secret files in 2003 added fuel to the concerns of those who believe that an innocent man has been imprisoned for nearly sixteen years while the true perpetrator or perpetrators have remained at large.

Among Whitefielders most active in Trial & Error, the group supporting Dennis' claim to innocence, are Bill Bunting, Libby Harmon, and Fran and Charlie Miller. Alden and Doris Boynton have believed in Dennis' innocence from the beginning. Many other Whitefielders have lent support in various ways. Betty Chase is an active member of the Portland chapter of Trial and Error. Lucy Martin, reporter for the Lincoln County News, has written the most thorough and factual articles about the case published in any newspaper. 

Trial & Error, P.O. Box 1, Whitefield is the address of a statewide petition drive asking for a complete investigation of the case, as suggested by former congressman (and assistant attorney general) Stan Tupper, of Boothbay Harbor. This drive takes no sides, and a number of Whitefielders who have signed it have stated that they do not believe in Dennis' innocence, but do support a complete and fair investigation carried out by the state.

Petition forms, copies of Human Sacrifice, and also lending copies of a 17-minute tape of portions of an INTERVIEW with Dennis Dechaine made a few months ago are available at the Uncas Farm Store. The website for Trial & Error is www.trialanderrordennis.org.

 Bill Bunting
June 2004