PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Anthony Sanborn is the first convicted murderer in Maine to be released on bail.
A hearing gets underway Tuesday that he hopes will lead to him to remaining free.
Sanborn was convicted of the brutal murder of teenager Jessica Briggs down along the Portland waterfront in 1989. He was sentenced to serve 70-years in prison.
“I was basically in survival mode for at least two years. I hung on because I thought someone's gonna do something. Like, someone's gonna have a conscience” he told NEWS CENTER after his release.
That release came in April, after 27 years behind bars. It began with a highly unusual scene, as a packed courtroom erupted in cheers when Sanborn entered. His road to freedom was paved by the woman who helped convict him all those years ago, when she took the stand and testified she lied back then.
"Did you witness a murder down at the pier at the Casco Bay lines here in Portland Maine?”, Sanborn’s attorney Amy Fairfield asked the state’s star witness Hope Cady.
“No”, Cady responded.
Cady was just 13-years old when she was put on the stand in 1992. She testified in April she was coerced by police detectives back then and threatened.
“I was scared”, she said.
“Scared of who?”, asked Fairfield.
“Those detectives", Cady responded.
State prosecutor Donald Macomber handed the judge signed affidavits by the detectives denying the allegations. He asked the judge not to decide the bail issue until they have a chance to defend themselves on the stand. But the judge also heard an impassioned plea by Sanborn's attorney.
“That is the state's case, Hope Cady. That's it. To keep this man in jail for one second longer just perpetuates this miscarriage of justice", said Fairfield.
The judge agreed and set bail at $25,000. Tony Sanborn left the courtroom the same way he entered, to cheers.
"How are you feeling Anthony?”, reporters asked.
“Excellent, justice”, he said.
Sanborn was later asked by NEWS CENTER what would he say to Hope Cady.
“Thanks for telling the truth. I wish you did it earlier”, he said.
He was also asked if he believed police coerced her.
“Sure, they didn't care about me. I was a 17 year old throw away”, he said.
But his freedom could be short lived if the original prosecutor in the Briggs case has her way.
“All the pieces interlocked, they made a puzzle. Instead of all different little pieces that didn't make any sense, it all fit into a puzzle picture. That's what I want a judge to see, is how these pieces fit together”, said Pam Ames.
These days Ames is a defense attorney. She stands by her work in the 1992 trial of Sanborn and is still convinced he killed Briggs.
“I'm anxiously waiting to testify”, she said.
The former Portland Police Detectives accused of coercing Cady, Jim Daniels and Danny Young, are also expected to testify.
Sanborn’s hearing could last up to three weeks. It could lead to Anthony Sanborn being returned to prison, being put on trial again or cleared of the murder he was convicted of.
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