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May 27, 2011

Doucette is found not guilty of assault

PEABODY — A jury yesterday acquitted paroled murderer Charles "Chucky" Doucette Jr., who was on trial for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and other charges stemming from a Valentine's Day argument with his former girlfriend.

"It just goes to show you that our jury system works," Doucette's lawyer, Scott Dullea, said after the verdict. "You can't try a person on his past."

Doucette, 51, of 18 Doloff Ave., Beverly, was also charged with threatening to commit a crime and intimidation of a witness. It took a jury of four men and two women about 90 minutes to find him innocent. Doucette, however, is likely to remain in custody until the Parole Board reviews the case.

His former girlfriend, Melissa Markus, accused him of dragging her alongside his truck and threatening to put a bullet in her head during an argument outside Doucette's home on the afternoon of Feb. 14. The prosecution argued that, given his criminal history and two past instances when Doucette allegedly struck her during their two-year relationship, Markus had reason to fear for her safety.

But Doucette's lawyers said Markus, 47, was the aggressor, that she was intoxicated and that Doucette was merely trying to get away from her. Her story kept changing, right up until the start of the trial on Tuesday morning, according to Dullea.

During his closing argument, he said the prosecution's case was "riddled with reasonable doubt and inconsistencies."

"They can't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt because there is no case," Dullea said. "They want you to convict on emotion or passion. They certainly don't want you to consider the facts."

Upset that the girlfriend he met in Alcoholics Anonymous was drinking again, Doucette took back the key she had to his home and moved out her belongings, Markus testified. While they argued outside his house, she claimed he threatened her and then, while she was standing beside the driver's side window of his truck, he "dragged" her alongside as he drove away.

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