I-Team Exclusive: Family of 1989 murder victim wants judge off the case
AUGUSTA (WGME) -- For the first time, the family of Jessica Briggs is talking publicly about her murder 28 years ago.
Her mother Sue Briggs tells CBS 13, she and Brigg's father Howard, are convinced the right man was convicted of killing their daughter.
Anthony Sanborn, Jr. was convicted of the violent crime back in 1992, but Sanborn is now out on bail and the case heads back to court next week.
"It's been a long time -- not something you want to come back," Sue Briggs said.
The whole case is getting another look after a key witness recanted her testimony in April.
In what the Office of the Maine Attorney General called a "highly unusual step," Justice Joyce Wheeler released Sanborn on bail.
"There is a reasonable likelihood that you will succeed on the petition, and I am going to set bail," Wheeler said during the April bail hearing.
Briggs called the hearing "a circus."
"Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon like 'oh he's been wrongly convicted' and that has not been proven. It's like he has a cult following now ... nothing has changed; he's still a convicted murderer," Briggs said.
Justice wheeler went on to say "this is only a bail hearing so I cannot apologize to you now."
"She shouldn't say things like that. She's telling him 'you should fare well on your motion' it sounds like she already has her mind made up he's an innocent man," Briggs said.
CBS 13 wanted to talk with Justice Wheeler, but a spokeswoman for the court told us Wheeler couldn't comment on a pending case.
"I don't feel she should be hearing this case," Briggs said.
Briggs wrote letters to the state's highest judges and filed a complaint with the Maine Judicial System.
The Attorney General's Office also asked Justice Wheeler to recuse herself based on comments Wheeler made during the April bail hearing.
Wheeler said she's staying on the case.
"Very rarely do I make decisions that most people like. To the family, I'm sorry this may re-open the question of who murdered Jessica, but if that's justice so be it," Wheeler said in court in April.
"I was convinced and so was the prosecution and the jury, everyone was convinced that it was him," Briggs said.
"Are you convinced still?" asked CBS 13 reporter Jon Chrisos
"I am. They haven't done anything to change my mind yet. If I do or don't agree with the outcome, I need it to be fair, and I don't feel it will be fair with her presiding over it," Briggs said.
Attorney Fairfield declined our request for an on-camera interview.
She told us Sanborn also wouldn't be able to speak with us before the court hearing on Monday.