Anthony Sanborn conviction review: what you need to know

NOW: Review of Sanborn conviction begins next week

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - He was released on bail after spending more than 25 years in jail for murder. Now, Anthony Sanborn is finally getting that conviction reviewed.

Starting on Tuesday, Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler will hear testimony from both sides.

His conviction still stands, but Sanborn could be retried or even exonerated.

The Past

May 1989 - 16-year-old Jessica Briggs is killed, her body found in the water along the Portland pier, her throat slashed

Three years later, 20-year-old Anthony Sanborn is convicted of her murder - but the defense team says the case was “entirely circumstantial,” according to court documents.

The key witness: Hope Cady, a 13-year-old runaway who claimed to have witnessed the murder.

The Present

Fast forward more than 20 years later - and Cady is now unclear on what she saw.

She told an independent reporter in 2015 that she has "no memory” of the murder. “It's just a blank. Everything goes dark," she said.

Then, this April - at Sanborn's bail hearing – she took back everything she said 27 years prior.

Cady claimed she was pressured and stalked by the defense team - even in the days leading up to the bail hearing.

Court transcripts show that she showed up to the Augusta Police Department, saying that she was being threatened, and that she felt "backed into a corner” by a private investigator and defense attorney Amy Fairfield.

Sanborn - who has always maintained his innocence - was released on bail.

He spent the summer with his wife and family - a brief taste of freedom that he is not guaranteed.

The Future

Looking ahead – there’s a long list of witnesses, including former police detectives, attorneys from the original case, former friends of Sanborn's, and of course, Hope Cady.

Sanborn's attorney, Amy Fairfield, says she plans to tackle the case from two sides.

First, to show evidence that she says was never revealed in the original case. She claims that Sanborn’s constitutional rights were “obliterated” during his first trial.

And second - she says she doesn't know who killed Jessica Briggs, but she is determined to prove it was not Anthony Sanborn.

We have spoken with Jessica Briggs' stepmother on Facebook.

She says she thinks the judge who granted Sanborn's bail is biased - and wants her removed from the case. She is still confident that Sanborn killed her stepdaughter.

The conviction review starts on Tuesday at 8 AM.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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