The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has rejected Dennis Dechaine's federal appeal in his longstanding attempt to clear his name in the death of a 12-year-old girl in Maine.

Courtroom detail
Nikolay Mamluke

The one-page decision issued Monday indicates Dechaine failed to meet the requirement for transferring the case to federal court. Dechaine's lawyer, Steven Peterson, acknowledged Tuesday that the legal process is "getting pretty close to the end."

Dechaine is serving a life sentence for the murder and sexual assault of Sarah Cherry, who was abducted while baby-sitting in Bowdoin in July 1988. Dechaine was convicted a year later.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has denied three requests for a new trial. In the latest, the court concluded new DNA evidence wouldn't have changed the outcome of the original trial.