On May 29, 2022, 29-year-old Dutchess County resident Melanie Chianese of Wappinger Township was found with multiple stab wounds.

Deputies from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office spotted a woman who was injured while responding to a home on Scott Drive in Wappinger.

She was taken to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Investigators eventually identified the man with the knife as Paul Senecal, 38, an ex-boyfriend of Chianese’s mother.

He was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in February 2023 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Chianese’s mother held a protective order against Senecal at the time of the murder, but it did not include Chianese because of her age.

The woman’s tragic death is behind new legislation sponsored by Rep. Anil Biffen, a Republican whose 105th District covers parts of Dutchess County.

Beephan said in a statement that the bill, dubbed the “Melanie Act,” would close a “dangerous” loophole and empower judges to issue protective orders for immediate family members or other family members, regardless of age.

He was one of several lawmakers who attended a bipartisan news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday to announce that the Legislature is on track to pass the bill before the end of the current session.

“We are gathering support in memory of Melanie Chianese, a young woman whose life was tragically cut short by a heinous act of violence,” Beephan told reporters.

“Melanie’s story highlights a serious flaw in our current legal system, with her mother’s ex-boyfriend being banned from contacting her mother instead of her, leading to this devastating outcome,” he continued.

“We cannot allow loopholes like this to persist. That’s why I stand before you today and urge my colleagues to support Melanie’s Law.”

Chianese leaves behind a 3-year-old son, Myles, who is autistic. A GoFundMe campaigns The project created to help this boy has raised over $37,000.

Those wishing to support the campaign can do it here.

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