, Salem, MA

Local News

January 10, 2007

Decision to free killer shocks victim's family


"His current explanations for his crimes, especially the murder, lack any remorse," Graydon said. "Rather, he seems to claim that the first shot was an accident, and he does not explain the second shot."

'Problems with anger'

The Parole Board, however, appears to have accepted, at least in part, Doucette's claim that the shooting was unplanned, saying, "The men began to argue and Mr. Doucette pulled out his revolver. The argument ended with the victim being shot in the head."

The board also pointed to Doucette's participation in "a variety of rehabilitation programs" while acknowledging that Doucette has "experienced problems with anger," including his involvement in a 2005 racially motivated fight with Hispanic inmates.

The board acknowledged that in 2005 he was denied admission to a program called the Correctional Recovery Academy because of a low score on the "recidivism and needs assessment" sections of the application. But the board decided Doucette "has strong family and community support" and "his release at this time is not detrimental to the welfare of society."

The two members who voted against parole said the murder was "particularly heinous" and noted Doucette's continued minimization of his actions, including his claim that the victim "raised his arm and then frustration overrode common sense."

"Mr. Doucette's criminal behavior while on bail is particularly disturbing," the dissenting members wrote. "Mr. Doucette admits that his motive for committing the home invasions was for money to pay for his defense lawyer."


A jury convicted Doucette of first-degree murder in 1988, but the next day, Judge John Ronan set aside the verdict, an unusual decision that the district attorney's office appealed. The Supreme Judicial Court later reinstated the verdict. Then, Doucette filed a motion for a new trial, which Ronan granted.

While out on $25,000 cash bail, he participated in the home invasions in the fall of 1991.

On Dec. 3, 1991, Doucette offered to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and the two home invasions and was sentenced to seven concurrent life terms for the multiple charges he faced in the three crimes.

About six years into those terms, Doucette tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty pleas, claiming that he had been forced to plead guilty in 1991 because his lawyer did not have enough time to prepare the case for trial.

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