Chevalier paroled in 2017 over victim's objections

COURTESY PHOTO / Jaffrey PoliceBrian Chevalier in 2003

The ex-fiance of Wendi Rose Davidson was released on parole in December 2017, after serving years in prison for a prior kidnapping. Five months later, Brian Chevalier, 51, of Manchester, New Hampshire, faces a murder charge in connection with her death.

When Chevalier appeared before a parole board last October to plead to be let out of prison, he stressed that he had a bright future ahead of him.

But the victim of the 2003 kidnapping that put him behind bars, a Jaffrey, New Hampshire, woman, was worried. She said in a statement provided to the New Hampshire Adult Parole Board that Chevalier before his 2004 trial had been colluding with other inmates to break out of prison and "soliciting for one of them to finish the job of killing me."

The victim did not appear at the parole board hearing. Her statement detailed the lasting trauma and emotional hardship she said she suffers.

"I have no belief in the judicial process anymore," Nicole Kipphut, victim services coordinator, read from the statement.

In 2003, Chevalier was charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, criminal threatening and other offenses against the woman. He was convicted of kidnapping and acquitted of the other charges.

By the October 2017 parole hearing, Chevalier had served 13 years of an up-to-30-year sentence for the crime.

The victim, according to her statement, said she found out about Chevalier's attempts to find her and kill her because another inmate had reported it, and the Jaffrey police chief brought her into the station to warn her.

"(The chief) specifically told me I need to be very wary, continue to look over my shoulder even though the offender was in custody, because of the soliciting," according to the statement.

The victim said that while in custody in Manchester before the trial, Chevalier conspired to steal handcuff keys and throw himself down a flight of concrete stairs so he would be taken off the prison grounds and more easily make an escape. 

The victim's statement detailed extensive personal trauma.

"I have never been able to relax," the victim advocate read from the statement. "Even though I have moved thousands of miles away ... I do not have a presence on social media ... I did not publish my engagement announcement ... My only child remembers her childhood as one where her mother was emotionless ... working hard to get through even small stressors I am no longer equipped to handle."

"I think the statement very well summarizes the long-lasting effect this person has had on this individual and stresses how scary an individual he is to this person," Kipphut continued, when she finished reading the statement.

Chevalier, given the opportunity before the board to respond to the victim statement, said he and his attorneys "proved all her lies" during the trial, and classified her statement as further lies.

Chevalier said another inmate who he believed had a grudge against him concocted the escape story, and that his fall down the stairs was the result of an attempt to be removed from contact with that inmate.

Despite his conviction for kidnapping, Chevalier during the hearing reiterated his trial defense that everything that occurred between the two was consensual. 

"I did not hold her against her will, I did not rape her, or anything," he said.

Chevalier's extensive criminal record includes 13 convictions, including an escape conviction in 1995, according to court documents.

According to a prosecutor's objection to Chevalier's 2014 request for a sentence reduction, his prior convictions dating back to 1984 include: 

* 1984, burglary, 1-3 years deferred.

* 1984, felony receiving stolen property, 1-3 years deferred.

* 1987, burglary, 1-3 years.

* 1989, criminal trespass, 6 months suspended.

* 1990, criminal trespass, 30 days.

* 1990, resisting arrest, no committed time.

* 1991, simple assault, 12 months with 9 months suspended.

* 1991, burglary, 3-6 years.

* 1992, simple assault, 12 months.

* 1995, escape, 1-3 years.

* 1997, assault by prisoner, 3.5-7 years.

* 1997, assault by prisoner, 4 to 10 years.

Chevalier was also tried on a 1990 sexual assault. The 1991 trial ended in a mistrial after the jury could not agree on a verdict, according to court documents.

Prosecutors also noted Chevalier was on parole in 2003 when convicted of kidnapping, and that he was "qualified for extended term imprisonment."

In early 2017, according to court documents, a Prison Classification Board "considered this inmate's background, institutional adjustment, and prognosis, and believes the likelihood of rehabilitation will be enhanced by participation in the Work Release Program," provided the "Court interposes no objection."

On March 3, 2017, a judge signed off on the request, marking it with an "X" for no objection.

In Chevalier's parole hearing, he brought up that he had been "in a halfway house since St. Patrick's Day" 2017 and had not attempted to reach out to the victim. He noted he wanted to go home to take care of his elderly mother, and said he felt bright about his future.

"I feel good that I have, it's not a lot of money, but it's money that I've never had before. I have a really good job," he said, noting that some of his co-workers would put their names as references for him. "It took me a while to grow up, but ... yeah I have a really good future to look forward to."

The victim's statement implored the board to look at Chevalier's past.

"I ask the parole board to take a hard look at this offender as the complete sum of his actions, before and after my kidnapping and assault, and at his other indictments, and not just the information that is conveniently before them from his prison record," the advocate read from the victim statement. "Do not underestimate him again."

The board granted him release on parole at the earliest possible date, December 2017, provided he had no contact with the victim in the 2003 kidnapping.

Chevalier and Wendi Davidson met on a dating website in December, and were engaged in February. They had broken it off by early April, according to a family member. On April 21, Davidson's body was found in the basement of her North Andover apartment, apparently strangled, according to investigators.

Chevalier, who was found days later in Mexico, is currently being held in California, where he is fighting rendition on a murder charge from the Essex County district attorney in connection with Davidson's death. It is unclear when he will be brought to Massachusetts to face that charge.

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