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Published: July 26, 2008 03:29 am ShareThisPrintThis
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Man paroled in '87 murder facing new charge
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

PEABODY - A convicted killer whose release on parole last year sparked an outcry is now facing charges that he violently raped a woman in Haverhill earlier this month.
Charles "Chuckie" Doucette Jr., 48, of Peabody served 18 years of the life sentence he was given for the 1987 execution-style shooting death of Raymond Bufalino, 30, of Salem. After a series of legal twists and turns in his case, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1991 - which made him eligible for parole in 2006.
On his first try before the Parole Board, he was granted parole, over the objection of Essex County prosecutors, who called him a "career criminal."
Eighteen months after his release, he's back in custody, charged with raping a 49-year-old Haverhill woman in her apartment.
"I knew it would happen," said Margaret Spenlinhauer, the aunt of Bufalino, who was shot to death by Doucette next to Harmony Grove Cemetery 21 years ago. "We all knew it would happen. I can't believe how stupid the Parole Board was."
According to a Haverhill police report, the woman called police on July 19 to report that she had been raped by Doucette. The two were acquainted because Doucette was living in Peabody at 35 Lynn St. with her former roommate.
She said Doucette, who had been working as a truck driver, called her on the 14th and said he was in the Haverhill area and needed to talk to her about his relationship, adding that he thought his girlfriend was cheating on him and that he might just go home and punch her or "might even kill her," according to the police report.
When Doucette questioned the woman, she said she didn't want to get involved. Doucette then threatened her, telling her he'd spent 18 years in prison and that he was "a very dangerous man." He demanded that she perform oral sex and intercourse or he would harm his girlfriend, according to police.
The woman complied, telling police that the sex was "rough" and that it hurt, according to a police report.
She did not report the incident right away, telling police she was in fear for her own life.
Doucette is being held in Middleton Jail, charged with rape and witness intimidation. Prosecutors are seeking to have him held without bail as a danger to the public. A hearing on that request is scheduled for Monday in Haverhill District Court.
Parole in jeopardy
Meanwhile, Doucette's parole in the 1987 murder is now in question because of the new charges. He could be returned to prison to continue serving his life term.
Terrell Harris, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety, which oversees the Parole Board, said the new charge will trigger a request for revocation of Doucette's parole.
That will lead to a series of hearings to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that Doucette violated his parole. That is a lower legal standard than required for a conviction.
If the board finds that Doucette did violate his parole, he would be returned to prison to resume serving his life sentence in the murder and in two violent home invasions he committed while out on bail in the murder case.
He would not be eligible to seek parole for at least five years, Harris said.
Family members of Bufalino say Doucette never should have been back on the street, especially since he continued to maintain that the shooting was an accident - though he shot Bufalino twice.
"I don't know how, looking at the facts, they came to the conclusion that they did," said Spenlinhauer, who lives in Hingham.
The motive for the 1987 shooting: Bufalino was injured while working at Doucette's father's gas station in Salem and filed a workers' compensation claim. Doucette's father did not carry workers' compensation coverage. Bufalino's body was found in his car by his young wife.
Spenlinhauer pointed out that a jury originally convicted Doucette of first-degree murder, a verdict that was set aside by a judge after the trial. When the verdict was reinstated by the Supreme Judicial Court, the judge then granted a motion for a new trial.
On the eve of that trial, prosecutors, concerned that the same judge would find the same issues in a second trial, offered Doucette a chance to plead guilty to second-degree murder.
"I think he's a professional criminal," Spenlinhauer said. "I don't think anything in his history indicated that he was a law-abiding citizen."
Spenlinhauer said her nephew's wife, who lives in North Andover, is "terrified" for herself and Bufalino's son.
Victim's family upset
Bufalino's brother Tony said he feels like the family "got shafted" by the justice system.
"Anybody on the Parole Board that knew this case should have known what was going to happen," said Bufalino, who was 15 when his brother was killed.
He says he would be "very happy" to see Doucette's parole revoked. "I personally feel that if you go out and kill somebody, you should be put away for life."
Doucette was out on bail in the shooting when he committed home invasions in Lynnfield and in Peabody. One family had just lost a young son, and in the second, a stun gun was used. He told the Parole Board that he committed the home invasions to get money to pay his lawyer.
Steve O'Connell, a spokesman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, declined to comment about Doucette's arrest, which is being prosecuted by Blodgett's office, but noted the district attorney's strong opposition to Doucette's release at the time of the hearing.
During Doucette's Parole Board hearing in 2006, prosecutor Elin Graydon said Doucette "defines a career criminal" who not only committed the murder but two home invasions while out on bail, "in a self-absorbed quest for money."
"He does whatever criminal act he chooses to do, regardless of the consequences to the victims or to himself," Graydon said in a letter to the board.
Two members of the Parole Board who agreed with Graydon called Doucette's crimes "particularly heinous" and said Doucette appeared to minimize his actions in the killing.
The board's 4-2 decision to release Doucette led to an examination of the Parole Board's practices by The Salem News.
In February 2007, Parole Board Chairwoman Maureen Walsh told the newspaper that the board had made efforts to better explain its decisions, issuing detailed written findings as it did in the Doucette case. But she defended the board's practice of secret votes, citing concerns about the safety of individual members.
Walsh, who did not say how she voted on the Doucette case, acknowledged then that the system is not perfect and that there are some inmates who will never be fit to live in society.
 

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Paroled murderer held on $300,000 cash bail on rape charges

Published: July 29, 2008 12:01 am ShareThisPrintThis

Paroled murderer held on $300,000 cash bail on rape charges
By Mike LaBella
Staff Writer

Salem News archive: Recent cases have Parole Board under the spotlight
Salem News archive: Decision to free killer shocks victim's family
HAVERHILL - A Peabody man who was on parole after serving 18 years in prison for murder was ordered held on $300,000 cash bail on charges he raped a Haverhill woman and intimidated a witness.
At a hearing in Haverhill District Court yesterday, Judge Patricia Dowling also ordered Charles "Chuckie" Doucette Jr., 48, to be detained at the request of the state Parole Board. He must appear in court Aug. 18 for a probable cause hearing.
Doucette had served 18 years of the life sentence he was given for the 1987 execution-style shooting death of Raymond Bufalino, 30, of Salem. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1991, which made him eligible for parole in 2006, over the objection of Essex County prosecutors, who called him a "career criminal."
Eighteen months after his release, Doucette was arrested and charged with raping a 49-year-old Haverhill woman in her apartment. Now his parole is in question because of the new charges. He could be returned to prison to continue serving his life sentence.
According to a Haverhill police report, the woman called police on July 19 to say Doucette had raped her five days earlier on July 14. The woman said she knew Doucette because he was dating her former roommate and that the couple lived together at 35 Lynn St. in Peabody.
She said Doucette, who had been working as a truck driver, called her on the 14th and said he was in the Haverhill area and needed to talk to her about his relationship, adding that he thought his girlfriend was cheating on him and that he might just go home and punch her or "might even kill her," according to the police report.
After an unsuccessful attempt at questioning the victim, who told him she did not want to get involved, Doucette threatened her and demanded that she have sex with him or he would harm his girlfriend, according to police.
The woman said she gave in to his demands for sex and told police she did not report the incident right away because she was in fear for her own life.
Terrell Harris, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety, which oversees the Parole Board, said the new charge will trigger a request for revocation of Doucette's parole.
If the board finds that Doucette did violate his parole, he would be returned to prison to resume serving his life sentence in the murder and in two violent home invasions he committed while out on bail in the murder case.
He would not be eligible to seek parole for at least five years, Harris said.
Family members of Bufalino said Doucette never should have been back on the street, especially since he continued to maintain that the shooting was an accident - though he shot Bufalino twice.

Salem News archive: Recent cases have Parole Board under the spotlight
Salem News archive: Decision to free killer shocks victim's family


Charles Doucette appeared in Haverhill District Court yesterday on rape charges. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and had been on parole since 2006.
Paul Bilodeau / Staff photo

 
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