Anthony Sanborn still guilty, but will remain free

Sanborn takes a deal 6PM

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Anthony Sanborn remains a convicted killer, but he will not be going back to prison.

After more than four weeks, Sanborn’s post-conviction review hearing abruptly came to an end Wednesday when his attorneys and the state reached an agreement.

Sanborn still steadfastly proclaims his innocence, but under the agreement, the jury’s verdict from 1992 remains.

"Mr. Sanborn remains today as he was after the jury’s verdict in 1992. Guilty of the murder of Jessica Briggs," said prosecutor Meg Elam.

But Sanborn is now free on time already served: 27 years. He thanked the judge for having the courage to hear his case.

"I want to thank you, to have integrity enough, to have the guts to do what you did," he said.

Justice Joyce Wheeler responded by saying, "I understand you lost your faith in the justice system and my only goal is to ensure justice is done."

WATCH: Sanborn speaks with judge in court

Outside the courthouse, Jessica Briggs' stepmother agreed that justice was served in this case, although the outcome is not exactly what her family was hoping for.

"We never doubted he did it. I’m glad the conviction stands," Susan Briggs said. "He walked away — that may not have been our ultimate goal, but he’s still convicted of killing our daughter."

Throughout the hearing, Sanborn’s defense team tried to show police investigators did a shoddy job and intimidated witnesses. Susan Briggs, who sat through the entire hearing, didn’t see it that way.

"I think they did a good job by 1989 standards," she said. "They’re comparing it to 2017 and it’s not the same."

WATCH: Reaction from defense, prosecution

The state and Sanborn’s attorney agreed his 70-year sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. The prosecutor cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says juvenile sentences must be different than adults. That ruling came in recent years, long after Sanborn was sentenced.

"We believe that today’s resolution of this matter is a just outcome for all involved, but mostly for Jessica Briggs and her family," Elan said.

A just outcome perhaps, but not exactly what either side wanted. 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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