PORTLAND, Maine – A man challenging his conviction for killing a 16-year-old girl in Maine in 1989 contends his friend testified against him so that police would look the other way in a rape case.
A lawyer for Anthony Sanborn has accused Gerard Rossi of effectively making a deal with police to implicate Sanborn in the death of Jessica Briggs.
The Portland Press Herald reports that Gloria Brosseau testified Friday that Rossi raped her numerous times, but Portland police were uninterested in pressing charges because Rossi was a witness against Sanborn.
The lead detective in the case testified that no deal was made and that Brosseau's allegations were referred to Augusta police.
Sanborn served 27 years behind bars for Jessica's death until the only eyewitness recanted. He was released on bail earlier this year.
Justice Joyce Wheeler is overseeing a post-conviction review hearing that will determine whether Sanborn receives a new trial.
There was more troubling testimony Thursday when a friend of Jessica's testified police ignored his tip that an unidentified man had threatened her the day she died because detectives had already homed in on Sanborn.
Robert Miller testified that he tried three times to tell detectives he had heard someone threaten to kill Jessica. The lead detective told him they already had their suspect, he said.
Sanborn's attorney alleges a long-standing cover-up by prosecutors and police in Maine's largest city. Portland police have denied wrongdoing.