Former detective embarrassed to learn he took Sanborn reports home

Sanborn hearing day 11

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – The lead detective in the Jessica Briggs murder case testified Tuesday he was embarrassed that case files were stored in boxes at his home.

“When I saw those original reports I felt horrible; I said this is embarrassing. I don’t even know how it happened, but I said I have to turn them in”, Retire Portland Detective James Daniels said.

Daniels testified earlier in the Anthony Sanborn trial he brought the boxes home during a rush to clear out his office when he retired from the Portland Police Department in 1998.

The boxes, as well as the notes, reports, and evidence contained within have all been a factor throughout the hearing. Sanborn’s defense team claims investigators withheld evidence from their client’s original attorneys preventing him from getting a fair trial.

A jury convicted Sanborn of the 1992 murder of teenager Jessica Briggs. Justice Joyce Wheeler released Sanborn on bail this April after the state’s key witness recanted her testimony.

Sanborn's defense attorney has been critical of Daniels for storing the records at his home, calling into question how police keep records of their investigations.

On the stand this morning Daniels testified he realized the discovery of the boxes in his home would become an issue. 

“So why didn’t you just destroy the boxes,” asked Assistant Attorney General Paul Rucha.

Daniels responded, “Well, that would be the prudent thing if you wanted to hide something. I knew it would be embarrassing, making a big deal, don’t mean to minimize when I say big deal, but I knew this would cause trouble down the road for me personally.”

Daniels also testified Sanborn denied stabbing Briggs during a lie detector test. The officer administering the test told Sanborn afterward he was not being truthful. Daniels said Sanborn was acting nervous and said he was concerned about being blamed for something he didn’t do. Daniels testified the test did not rule Sanborn out as a suspect.

Daniels has already spent several days on the stand during this hearing. Today marked the first time the state has questioned Daniels.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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