‘I just want him to leave me alone.’ Dutchess County woman says daughter's killer is terrorizing her from behind bars

Paul Senecal fatally stabbed 29-year-old Melanie Chianese in 2022 on her mother's doorstep in Wappingers Falls.

Blaise Gomez

Jul 19, 2023, 7:38 PM

Updated 314 days ago

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A Dutchess County woman whose ex-boyfriend killed her daughter in a gruesome stabbing at her home says she’s continuing to be terrorized by him behind bars, even though he’s not supposed to have any contact. 
Paul Senecal fatally stabbed 29-year-old Melanie Chianese in 2022 on her mother's doorstep in Wappingers Falls.
Senecal murdered Chianese after the victim's mother, Cheryl Chianese, broke up with him and got a restraining order. Prosecutors say he broke the court order multiple times while out on bail and on probation before the killing, and that he appears to be continuing to ignore the order of protection from behind bars. 
News 12 obtained a copy of a letter he allegedly sent to Cheryl Chianese’s sister in May saying he’s sorry and loves Cheryl - claiming to somehow have had “good intentions.” 
"I love, miss and care about Melanie, Cheryl, Myles and their family with all my heart. They mean the world to me," Senecal wrote. "It breaks my heart knowing Myles will grow up without his mother and Cheryl without her daughter ... I have always had good intentions.”
Chianese says the communication is unwanted and goes against a restraining order.
“It’s traumatizing. It brings me flashbacks," said Chianese. "I just want him to leave me alone.” 
Chianese says she reached out to the Auburn Correctional Facility, where Senecal is now serving a life sentence for the slaying, and found out he also had her phone number down for an approved contact. 
Representatives for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office say they’re investigating both incidents and will take steps to ensure the unwanted and illegal communication doesn’t happen again.  
Officials say Melanie Chianese’s killer could also face new criminal charges.
Cheryl Chianese hopes something changes so she can one day find some peace without her beloved daughter. 
“I wake up every day forced to live a life I don’t want to live,” said Chianese.
Chianese has become a public activist for domestic violence awareness and judicial change in the months since her daughter's death.
A proposed law in Melanie's name seeks to change the requirements for restraining orders in cases of domestic violence and would allow adult children of victims to be granted an order of protection. 
Plans are also in place to start the Melanie A. Chianese Foundation to provide scholarships for Dutchess County Community College students, where she was attending classes at the time of her murder.


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