A photo of Michael Severance, a man slain by his wife in Texas, rests on a shelf near a taxidermied raptor at the Pine Tree Store in Grand Lake Stream owned by his father, Leslie Severance, and Brinda Leighton, April 1, 2015. Credit: Brian Feulner

A former veterinarian serving a 25-year sentence for murdering Lee native Michael Severance in Texas in 2005 has been denied an early release from prison.

The seven-member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted on Wednesday to reject a parole request from 40-year-old Wendi Mae Davidson, formerly of San Angelo, Texas. She is next eligible for parole in 2024, said Natasha Davis, assistant to the board’s director of communications.

The board cited the nature of the offense as the reason, quoting a standard set of conditions for the refusal, Davis said.

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“The record indicates the instant offense has elements of brutality, violence, assaultive behavior, or conscious selection of victim’s vulnerability indicating a conscious disregard for the lives, safety, or property of others, such that the offender poses a continuing threat to public safety,” the board ruled.

Severance, 24, was a Lee Academy graduate who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he achieved the rank of staff sergeant and served overseas several times. He was stationed at Dyess Air Force base just outside Abilene, Texas, when he met and married Davidson after a brief courtship.

Davidson pleaded no contest in October 2006 to charges that she poisoned her husband of four months on Jan. 15, 2005, with drugs used to euthanize animals, weighed his body down with car parts and cinder blocks, and dumped it in a Texas pond owned by a Davidson family friend.

Severance’s body was stabbed 41 times after death to keep it underwater. Police found it during their investigation of Davidson about two months after Davidson reported her husband missing on Jan. 17, 2005.

Davidson’s no contest plea was a sudden reversal of a year of denials and evasions that infuriated the Severances. As a court employee began to administer the oath to verify the accuracy of Davidson’s signature on the plea agreement, she collapsed in the courtroom. She lay on the floor sobbing for several minutes while her attorney tried to console her.

She faced a sentence of nine to 99 years if found guilty in trial.

The Severance family was informed of the board’s decision on Wednesday. Attempts to contact Severance’s father, Les, and brother, Frank, were not immediately successful, but the elder Severance thanked the parole board in a Facebook post.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.