Victims of the State

4 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases




Date of Alleged Crime


Aroostook County, ME Edward Hodsdon Convicted 1946 (Presque Isle)
Edward A. Hodsdon was convicted of assault with intent to rape after being identified by the victim.  Maine Governor Payne pardoned Hodsdon in 1952 after another man, Edward Kennison, confessed that he had committed the assault.  (Not Guilty) (Dredmund)  [10/05]


Oxford County, ME Dwyer & Carroll Oct 13, 1937 (South Paris)

Francis M. Carroll, a deputy sheriff in Oxford County, was convicted in 1938 of the murder of Dr. James G. Littlefield.  Littlefield and his wife, Lydia, disappeared from their home in South Paris on Oct. 13, 1937.  On Oct. 16, Paul Nathaniel (Buddy) Dwyer, 18, also from South Paris, was found sleeping in the couple's car by police in North Arlington, NJ.  The bodies of the dead couple were found in the trunk.  Dwyer confessed to killing the couple and was extradited to Maine the next day.  He was placed in the custody of Francis Carroll, the father of Dwyer's former girlfriend, Barbara (Babs) Carroll.  On Dec 2, Dwyer pleaded guilty to the murder of Dr. Littlefield and was sentenced to life in prison.

Within months, Dwyer accused Deputy Carroll of having killed Dr. Littlefield to prevent him from disclosing that the deputy had engaged in incest with his daughter, Babs.  Babs allegedly acknowledged that she engaged in sexual activity with her father on several occasions beginning when she was eleven years old.  Carroll was soon convicted of the murder of Dr. Littlefield, primarily because of Dwyer's testimony.  Carroll and Dwyer could not both be guilty of murder under the conflicting prosecution theories on which their convictions rested, but both were imprisoned until 1950, when Carroll's conviction was vacated.  In vacating the conviction, a Superior Court judge declared that the prosecutor in the case “deliberately, purposely, and intentionally . . . practiced fraud and deception on the court and jury.”

While there is reasonable doubt about Carroll's conviction, Dwyer's story implicating him is quite believable and it would appear that Carroll is most likely the killer.  In Oct. 1959 Maine Governor Clausen commuted Dwyer's life sentence to 28 years, making him immediately eligible for parole, a parole Dwyer was soon granted.  (CWC) (NY Daily News) (AP) (Life) (Murdered in Jersey) (Dwyer v. State) (NY Times)  [10/09]


Piscataquis County, ME Henry Lambert May 12, 1901 (Shirley)

Henry J. Lambert, a French Canadian, was indicted for the murders of J. Wesley Allen, his wife, Mary, and his 15-year-old daughter, Carrie Louise.  Allen's farmhouse and barn were burned to the ground and all that remained of the family were charred bones.  Authorities did not believe the fire was an accident because it appeared unlikely that the fire could have spread between the house and the barn.  Also witnesses reportedly had seen the fire from a distance prior to 10 p.m., before the family was likely to be sleeping.  However, no one visited the scene until the next day.  Allen's remains were allegedly found in the barn, although it was never completely clear that these remains were human.

Lambert was tried for the murder of Allen only, presumably to allow the prosecution a chance to convict him of the other alleged murders should he be acquitted of Allen's murder.  The prosecution alleged as motive for the crime that Lambert was in love with Allen's daughter who it asserted was raped.  Lambert had cut a square piece of cloth from an area of one of his shirts that was normally tucked in his trousers.  He said he used the cloth to bandage his foot.  The prosecution alleged a charred piece of cloth found at the murder scene came from this cut in Lambert's shirt.  It is not clear how good the match was or why such a piece of cloth would be used or left behind at a murder scene.  All other presented evidence against Lambert consisted of attempts to cast suspicion on him, but these attempts were largely refuted.  Nevertheless, Lambert was convicted of Allen's murder.

In 1923, after serving more than 20 years in prison, Lambert was granted a pardon based on innocence.  It was felt that Lambert was convicted on insufficient evidence and that other evidence showed Allen had had a dispute with a tramp who may have committed the alleged murders.  (News Articles 1900s)  (News Articles 1920s) (MOJIPCC)  [1/10]


Sagadahoc County, ME Dennis Dechaine July 7, 1988 (Bowdoin)

Dennis Dechaine was convicted of the abduction, sexual torture, and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry.  The book Human Sacrifice by James P. Moore, a former ATF agent-in-charge for Maine and New Hampshire, contends that the evidence shows that Dechaine could not have committed the crime.

Dechaine's pickup truck was found parked 450 feet from Cherry's body.  Rope from the truck apparently had been used to bind the girl.  Dechaine's bandana had gagged her.  In addition, two documents bearing Dechaine's name had been discovered in the driveway of the house where Cherry was babysitting before she was killed.

Dechaine has summarized his case as follows:  "An unidentified man/men took four items from an unattended truck and used those items to kill Sarah Cherry and shift responsibility to the owner of the truck, Dennis Dechaine."

At trial, the medical examiner, Ronald Roy, estimated that Cherry had died 30 to 36 hours before he examined the victim's body at 2 p.m. on July 8, 1988.  The longest estimate, based on the presence of rigor mortis, would have put the time of death at 2 a.m., July 7.  However, according to police evidence, Dechaine emerged from the woods before 8:45 p.m. on July 6, when a motorist stopped to pick him up, after which time he has a solid alibi.

Moore said, when he first began looking at the case in 1992, "I was going to prove that all the criticisms [of law enforcement] were unfounded.  It just didn't work out that way."  Some have disputed the timing of Cherry's death, citing ambiguity in the medical examiner's testimony.  However, according to Moore, "Every pathologist interviewed, and every forensic pathology textbook agrees that, in this situation and circumstances, rigor mortis would last a maximum of 36 hours."

Evidence which could have identified Cherry's real killer was destroyed by the state.  This evidence included a hair found on the victim's arm, a hair found on the rope binding victim's wrists, and mystery fingerprints on the door of the house from which Cherry was abducted.  The state attempted to hide DNA test results of blood found under the victim's fingernails.  These results showed the blood belonged to an unknown male.  Further testing has ruled out male family members, police officers, or medical examiner office personnel who could have inadvertently contaminated the evidence.  Dechaine is serving a life without parole sentence.  (Boston Globe) (IB) (  [7/05]