SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 20, 2013

Parole revoked for killer

Doucette poses 'risk of violence,' board finds

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — An admitted killer whose release in 2007 sparked outrage will spend at least another five years in prison, after the state Parole Board voted unanimously to revoke Charles “Chucky” Doucette’s parole.

Doucette “was the beneficiary of a generous parole decision by a previous Parole Board,” Chairman Josh Wall wrote in a decision released yesterday by the Essex County district attorney’s office. Despite that, Doucette apparently flouted his parole status and “always seems to have his own agenda,” which did not include rehabilitation, the board found.

The board voted to bar Doucette from applying again for parole for five years.

While out on parole, Doucette was arrested twice, on a 2008 rape charge that was later dismissed and a domestic abuse incident two years ago for which he was later found not guilty. But his parole officer had described him as “difficult to supervise” throughout that time, pointing to Doucette’s failure to attend Alcoholics Anonymous consistently or to hold a steady job, and to his troubled relationships with women.

“He is clear that he intends to follow his own rules rather than meet the requirements of parole or the expectations of his parole officer,” Wall wrote for the board. “With that mindset and his history of violent crime, Doucette presents an unacceptable risk for violence.”

Doucette, following a series of procedural issues in his case, including a motion for a new trial, finally pleaded guilty in 1991 to the 1987 execution-style shooting of Raymond Bufalino.

Bufalino, 30, worked at a Salem Texaco gas station owned by Doucette’s father in the late 1980s. Bufalino was injured on the job, but Doucette’s father lacked workers’ compensation insurance and Bufalino was considering a lawsuit. Doucette also claimed that Bufalino owed him money.

The two men were in Bufalino’s car on Harmony Grove Road in Salem when Doucette shot him twice in the head — a shooting that Doucette still insists was accidental. One bullet entered behind Bufalino’s ear and the other through his mouth. Doucette claims the gun went off when Bufalino hit his hand but offers no explanation for the second shot other than to say, “I wasn’t thinking.”

Doucette was convicted of first-degree murder in 1988, but a Superior Court judge, John Ronan, set the verdict aside and released Doucette. Despite a Supreme Judicial Court order overruling the judge and ordering Doucette back to prison, Ronan then granted a motion for a new trial and released Doucette on bail. While on bail, Doucette committed two violent home invasions and robberies, one in Peabody and one in Lynnfield. He later claimed that he committed the crimes to pay his lawyer in the murder case.

On the day his trial was set to start in December 1991, Doucette pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, as well as charges stemming from the home invasion and robberies. He was sentenced to seven life terms. But under Massachusetts law, a “life” sentence for any offense less than first-degree murder entitles a defendant to seek parole after serving 15 years.

In a 4-2 vote in 2006, the Parole Board voted to release Doucette on parole, on his first try, over the objections of prosecutors and of Bufalino’s family. He was released in 2007.

While living in Peabody in 2008, Doucette was charged with raping a woman at a party in Haverhill. The charge was later dropped after a grand jury declined to indict Doucette, and he was placed back on parole.

Then, on Valentine’s Day in 2011, he was charged with dragging his girlfriend with his truck outside his home in Beverly. Though he was later acquitted at trial, the Parole Board cited a Salem District Court judge’s findings before the trial that the allegations from that incident and two earlier domestic assaults disclosed by the woman were “credible.”

The incident triggered another parole violation proceeding, during which Doucette’s parole officer noted that Doucette was skipping AA meetings and had been allowing the victim to live with him without permission from the parole officer. The parole officer also noted that marijuana paraphernalia was found in the woman’s bedroom.

Family members of Bufalino, some of whom still live on the North Shore, had also spoken out against parole for Doucette both in 2006 and again last March.

Elin Graydon, an assistant district attorney who argued against parole for Doucette during last year’s hearing, said Doucette has never accepted responsibility for what prosecutors believe was an “execution-style” murder, nor has he taken part in any meaningful drug or alcohol treatment while in custody.

“This defendant clearly poses a threat to public safety,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a press release. “On multiple occasions, while out on bail or while on parole, Mr. Doucette has engaged in threats and serious acts of violence which call into question his ability to function in society.”

Doucette’s lawyer, Eitan Goldberg, expressed disappointment but not surprise at the decision, which comes nearly a year after Doucette’s parole hearing last March.

“We’re disappointed and will continue to pursue any other recourse available,” Goldberg said, including asking the board to reconsider its vote and appealing a Superior Court dismissal of his lawsuit alleging that there was no legal basis to revoke Doucette’s parole following the 2011 acquittal.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.