PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- The ex-wife of a convicted murderer set to be released from prison decades early says she was never notified that the so-called "thrill" killer was up for parole.
The former wife of Alfred Brissette - who asked that she not be identified - said she had a "visceral reaction" when she learned he was getting out after.
"I wanted to run away. I was shaking and crying and could not stop for six hours," she said in a telephone interview. "I was having nightmares about it because of the fear about him finding me or my family."
Brissette and his co-conspirator, Marc Girard, were convicted in the 1999 killing of Jeannette Descoteaux, 38, of Woonsocket. Court records show the pair had discussed killing a woman "at random" for months prior and Brissette even purchased a shovel with plans to dig a grave for the victim.
Brissette pleaded guilty to murder charges and was sentenced to 60 years, with 35 to serve in prison. R.I. Department of Corrections records indicate Brissette earned more than 1,600 days of "good time" and this month the R.I. Parole Board voted to release him in December.
Brissette's ex-wife said she wasn't surprised when she originally learned he was accused of taking part in the brutal beating death of Descoteaux.
"He was always interested in the macabre … I don't know how to explain it, there was always something off," she said. "I always felt something was coming, [like a] storm coming."
The woman married Brissette when she was 18 years old; he was 19. They had been divorced for about five years when the crime took place, she said.
"I met him at a coffee shop," she said. "It was a meeting that should never have happened."
Court documents detailing the 1999 homicide say Marc Girard met Descoteaux at a party and convinced her to drive with him and Brissette to the woods in Burrillville by promising her drugs. Brissette and Descoteaux had sex in a car at George Washington Park while Girard waited outside the vehicle, according to police.
"After that, Brissette reached into the back of the Blazer for a plastic bag containing a lug wrench and smashed it into Jeanette's head," court records say. "Jeanette was stunned and asked Brissette what he was doing, to which he responded by again striking her head with the lug wrench."
The victim screamed, begging Brissette to stop, at which time Girard returned, according to police records quoted in the court documents. Descoteaux promised she wouldn't tell anyone what had happened if they drove her to the hospital.
"In the meantime, Brissette, who had been rummaging about in the Blazer, reappeared and handed the shovel to Girard and directed him to dig a hole," court documents state. "Suddenly realizing the implications of what was happening, the wounded and bleeding Jeanette sprang to her feet and began to run for her life."
Both men chased Descoteaux - who was still naked - through the woods and eventually caught up, according to court documents. They began repeatedly beating her with a lug wrench and a shovel.
Court records state Girard told police in his confession that he dealt the fatal blow: "I was just trying to put her out of her misery. I didn't want her laying out there for days still alive, bleeding."
Lack of information
According to the parole board's website, inmates seeking early release must submit a plan for their life outside prison that the board members can review. In response to a request from Target 12, the board refused to provide information about where Brissette will live and whether he will work or attend school once he gets released.
The board's website says its "records are exempt from public disclosure since these records contain personal or medical information relating to an individual."
Records indicate the board voted to release Brissette during a June 2012 meeting, then revisited his case in November and voted to release him in December.
In a statement, the parole board said Brissette had never been disciplined in his 14 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.
"The board was impressed with inmate's program participation and his documented plan for change," according to the statement. "Further, the Parole Board did not receive [any] objection letter from the [attorney general's] office or the victim's family."
Target 12 has learned Descoteaux's mother died in 2008.
Brissette's ex-wife said she was told by an advocacy group that she was most likely not notified because she is not a direct victim of the crime. She says she has not heard back from the Parole Board or the Attorney General's office.
Amy Kempe, spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, said: "It is up to the Department of Corrections and the parole board to use their best judgment in terms of rehabilitation and parole. The parole board has the facts of the case. They have all the information to make their decisions."
Brissette's ex-wife said she is skeptical that he could be a reformed man. "He's always been manipulative – setting things up for his own gain," she said. "That's always been his M.O."
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