Dutchess County man convicted of murdering daughter of his ex-girlfriend

A county jury found 38-year-old Paul Senecal guilty of second-degree murder, burglary and other charges.

Blaise Gomez

Feb 24, 2023, 8:53 PM

Updated 476 days ago


A Hudson Valley man who stood trial this week for killing his ex-girlfriend’s daughter, has now been found guilty of first-degree murder. 
A Dutchess County jury found 38-year-old Paul Senecal guilty Friday on all five counts, including first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. 
Senecal fatally stabbed 29-year-old Melanie Chianese at the home she shared with her young son and mother in Wappinger last May. 
The victim’s mother had a restraining order against Senecal for domestic violence. 
Senecal testified earlier in the week that his mental health issues contributed to the murder, saying “the devil” made him do it.
The defendant was previously evaluated by three mental health experts and determined fit to stand trial after hearing a recorded phone call from jail between Senecal and his sister, where prosecutors said Senecal made remarks that he was falsely claiming to be mentally-ill and understood the charges against him.
According to the victim’s mother, Cheryl Chianese, who was in court, Senecal acted out in court as the verdict was read and had to watch the remainder of the proceeding from a holding cell. 
Senecal is now facing life in prison without parole when he is sentenced April 10th. 

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