Problems Mounting For New Parole Board Head

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Josh Wall's first day leading the Parole Board brought him his first high-profile problem Thursday.

The board has begun the process of revoking parole for a violent career criminal arrested for allegedly assaulting and battering his girlfriend with an automobile this week.

Charles Doucette was serving life in prison for murder, until he was released by the Parole Board in 2007. He's become the latest symbol of failure that Wall was recruited to correct.

Mounting Problems For The Parole Board

Parking is easy these days at Parole Board Headquarters. In front of the building there are four vacant slots marked "Reserved for Parole Board Members." Those are the members Gov. Deval Patrick forced out after their decision to parole Dominic Cinelli became a firestorm when Cinelli murdered a cop in December.

Now, atop the clean desk in the empty office Josh Wall has just moved into, there sits a new mess.

"If you look at Mr. Doucette's sentences, you see three separate crimes, one murder and two home invasions. Each crime extremely serious and violent, and if you look at the record of decision, it is not clear how those board members factored in the seriousness of those offenses," Wall said.

Charles "Chuckie" Doucette Jr. has come back to haunt the Parole Board this week because he allegedly celebrated this Valentine's Day in Beverly by assaulting and battering his girlfriend — he's charged with dragging her down the street with his car — while telling her, "If you call the police, I will put a bullet in your head."

Doucette's Past Criminal Acts

Doucette, all 290 pounds of him, has been out of prison since 2007. He'd been serving seven life sentences at once when the Parole Board voted in October 2006 to release him.

Twenty-four years ago this week, Shauna Rollins was the young mother of a 10-month-old boy when Doucette shot her husband up-close in the family car. Prosecutors called it an execution: one bullet behind his ear and another to his mouth.

Booking photo of Charles Doucette (Courtesy Beverly P.D.)
Charles Doucette (Courtesy Beverly P.D.)

"No I don't think he should have been released. I think it was too violent a crime to allow him to have been released," Rollins said.

Doucette murdered her husband, the trial established, because her husband refused to withdraw a worker's compensation claim against Doucette's father.

Then, while on bail and awaiting trial in 1991, Doucette committed two home invasions, assaulting the occupants with a gun and a stun gun. He was even charged with intimidating witnesses.

"He took a life, and not only my life, but my infant son's," Rollins said.

Shauna Rollins broke her silence Thursday in talking about the pain and loss she said she's tried to put behind her. In 2006, though she urged the board not to, it voted 4 to 2 to release Doucette in his first time up for parole. It said Doucette had "strong family support" and had addressed his anger management problems.

Wall Questions Board's Decision On Doucette

New board Chairman Josh Wall said he doesn't want to "pre-judge" that board's decision, but, "The seriousness of his crimes, the information and opinions that were provided by victims to the Parole Board, the records of decision do not make it clear that all those factors were given the weight they should be given in a decision like this," Wall said.

Soon enough the board had a chance to put Doucette back in prison. In 2008, the year after he was released, he was charged with raping a woman in Haverhill. Though the grand jury did not indict him, the Parole Board could have revoked his parole, Wall said.

"The parolee, in committing that new offense, might have violated some other condition of parole," he said. "The Parole Board has a great deal of latitude in protecting the public's safety and those are factors that can be considered and could be a basis for revocation."

But the Parole Board didn't revoke. Doucette stayed free, only to become another mess as Wall begins the task of rebuilding the board and overhauling the system.

Earlier Coverage:

This program aired on February 18, 2011.

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David Boeri Senior Reporter
Now retired, David Boeri was a senior reporter at WBUR.



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