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Killer with 7 life terms is back in jail

Doubts raised on parole decision

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By Shelley Murphy and John Ellement
Globe Staff / February 17, 2011

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A convicted murderer who was paroled three years ago while serving seven life sentences is back behind bars after he was arrested in Beverly on Valentine’s Day on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, dragging her with his car, and warning that he would “put a bullet’’ in her head if she called police.

The arrest of Charles W. “Chucky’’ Doucette Jr., 51, of Beverly has drawn intense scrutiny of the Parole Board’s decision to release him. It also comes as the Patrick administration tries to rebuild the parole system nearly two months after another parolee killed a Woburn police officer and died in a shootout with police during an attempted robbery.

Hours after veteran prosecutor Joshua Wall was confirmed yesterday as a member of the Parole Board, he said it was unclear whether the board had considered all the facts before releasing Doucette in February 2007. Wall, who the governor is expected to name as chairman of the board, said the new charges prompted the board to move to revoke Doucette’s parole, “which gives us the possibility to return Mr. Doucette to prison for life.’’

Doucette executed a 30-year-old Salem mechanic in 1987, shooting him behind the ear and in the mouth. While on bail in that case, he committed two home invasions. During one of the break-ins, he assaulted a couple and ransacked the room of their son who had died in a car accident, court records show.

He was serving seven concurrent life sentences when he became eligible for parole in 2006 and the Parole Board voted 4 to 2 to release him that December, over the objections of prosecutors and victims.

“He’s a menace to society,’’ said Tony Bufalino of Lynn, whose brother Raymond was killed by Doucette. “I don’t feel that he should ever come out of jail again. I think they’ve given him enough chances.’’

After reviewing the 2006 decision, Wall said, “It’s unclear to me whether the board fully considered the horrific facts of the three separate crimes, the defendant’s extensive other criminal record, and the information and opinions provided by the victims and their surviving family.’’

In August 2008, Doucette was charged with raping a Haverhill woman. The case was dropped after a grand jury declined to indict him, and the Parole Board allowed him to remain free.

On Monday afternoon, the 6-foot-1-inch, 290-pound Doucette allegedly locked his girlfriend out of his Dolloff Avenue apartment and refused to let her inside to collect her prescription drugs, according to a police report.

The girlfriend told police that she leaned inside Doucette’s truck as she pleaded with him to let her into the house and he drove away, dragging her down the street. The woman’s hands and face were bloodied, and she told police that Doucette warned her, “If you call the police, I will put a bullet in your head,’’ according to the police report.

Doucette told police his girlfriend attacked him, and he pushed her away from the truck before he drove away. He also told police that he was on parole and “believed this incident was going to send him back to jail for the rest of his life,’’ the police report said.

Doucette pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Salem District Court to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, threat to commit a crime, and intimidation of a witness. He was ordered held without bail pending a Feb. 24 hearing on whether he is a danger and should remain in custody until the case is resolved. His lawyer declined to comment yesterday.

Steve O’Connell, a spokesman for the Essex district attorney’s office, would not comment on the new charges, but said, “We strongly opposed his parole back in 2006.’’

The state’s parole system drew condemnation, resulting in a sweeping overhaul, after career criminal Domenic Cinelli fatally shot Woburn police Officer John Maguire during a Dec. 26 jewelry heist at Kohl’s department store in Woburn.

Cinelli had been released on parole in February 2009 following a 6-to-0 vote by the board. He shot a security guard during a Boston jewelry store robbery in 1985 and was serving three sentences of 15 years to life.

Last month, five board members who paroled Cinelli resigned as the governor released a scathing review of the board. Three board members who paroled Cinelli also participated in the vote to parole Doucette.

Doucette killed Raymond Bufalino, who left a wife and infant son, because he refused to drop a civil claim against Doucette’s father, resulting from an injury Bufalino suffered while repairing cars at the senior Doucette’s gas station.

A jury convicted Doucette of first-degree murder, but the trial judge substituted his own verdict of not guilty.

The Supreme Judicial Court reinstated the conviction, but Doucette was granted a new trial. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and charges relating to the home invasions, giving him the chance for parole.

Yesterday, Bufalino’s sister, Sue Maynard of Lynn, said she was relieved that Doucette is back behind bars. “I’m just so happy I can walk the streets knowing there’s one less murderer walking the street,’’ she said.

Murphy can be reached at smurphy@globe.com; Ellement at ellement@globe.com.

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