Dutchess County resident Melanie Chianese, age 29, of the town of Wappinger, was found suffering from multiple stab wounds on May 29, 2022.
Deputies from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office found her while responding to a home on Scott Drive in Wappinger for a report of a woman being injured.
She was rushed to MidHudson Regional Hospital, where she later died from her injuries.
Investigators eventually determined that the man behind the knife was 38-year-old Paul Senecal, a former boyfriend of Chianese’s mother.
He was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in February 2023, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At the time of the murder Chianese’s mother had an order of protection against Senecal, however it did not include Chianese due to her age.
The woman’s tragic death is behind new legislation being sponsored by Assemblymember Anil Beephan, a Republican whose 105th District covers parts of Dutchess County.
Named “Melanie’s Law,” it would close the “dangerous” loophole and empower judges to issue orders of protection for immediate family or other household members, regardless of age, Beephan said in a statement.
He was one of several lawmakers appearing at a bipartisan press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday to announce that the Legislature is expected to pass the bill by the end of the current session.
"We are gathering support to remember Melanie Chianese, a young woman whose life was tragically cut short due to a heinous act of violence,” Beephan told reporters.
“Melanie's story highlights a critical flaw in our current legal system, where her mother's ex-boyfriend was prohibited from contacting her mother but not her, ultimately leading to this devastating outcome,” he continued.
“We cannot let such loopholes persist. That is why I stand before you today, urging my colleagues to support Melanie’s Law.”
Chianese left behind a 3-year-old son, Myles, who has autism. A GoFundMe campaign created to assist the boy has raised over $37,000.
Those who wish to support the campaign can do so here.
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