Former PPD Chief: releasing Sanborn 'uncalled for'

Fmr. Police Chief on Sanborn Release.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Thursday marks three weeks since convicted killer Anthony Sanborn was allowed to leave prison on bail.
He'd been incarcerated for more than 25 years, convicted of the 1989 murder of 16-year-old Jessica Briggs.

Then, last month, a key witness recanted her testimony, saying she didn’t’ actually see Sanborn kill Briggs.
Justice Joyce Wheeler said Sanborn has a good chance of overturning his conviction.

But,  Michael Chitwood, the Portland Police Chief at the time of Sanborn's arrest thinks she should have waited to let him out.

“My opinions are based on my knowledge of the case 25 years ago and certainly working with and knowing the detectives and prosecutors in the case,” said Chitwood.

Chitwood hasn't worked here in 12 years.

Still, he remembers a lot about overseeing Portland PD, including the Anthony Sanborn investigation.
“The last thing that I personally would ever want to see is someone sent to prison for 25 years for a crime they didn't commit,” he explained. I would be the first one to stand up on the soapbox and holler about it. “

Chitwood shared his thoughts on the latest case developments including boxes of what Sanborn's defense says is evidence recently turned over to Portland Police.

One of Chitwood's former detectives had the boxes in his attic.

The former chief doesn't know whether they actually contain evidence or not, but them but says anything marked as case evidence should have been locked up.

“Evidence is usually stored as evidence,” he said. “It's at the police department.”Chitwood also shared his thoughts on Sanborn's bail release.

“I think that was inappropriate,” he said.
The former chief thinks the judge overseeing Sanborn's case should have waited to hear from his former detectives in court.

Despite claims they pressured witnesses,  Chitwood puts them among the best people he's worked with.
That judge, he says, made a mistake releasing a convicted killer.

“In my opinion. that was uncalled for until the investigation is completed,  until all the facts are in, until they hear from the two detectives and the prosecutor.” 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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