Local News

May 3, 2013

Defendant: Didn't know victim before

ELIZABETHTOWN — Scott E. Denno told police he had never met Robert Rennie before the night the man was killed.

That assertion is part of a four-page statement that was entered as evidence in Denno's trial in Essex County Court on Friday morning.

On Aug. 26, 2012, Rennie, 45, was found dead on a path near the closed iron bridge on River Street in Keeseville. An autopsy showed he had died of severe blunt force trauma and internal bleeding. 

Denno and Michael D. Rivers are charged with first-degree manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and gang assault in the beating death of Rennie.

Paul J. Taylor faces charges of second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and gang assault. 

'“The only thing I knew about Robert (Rennie) is that he beat women and went after kids,”' defense attorney Joe Brennan read from Denno's statement.  

Brennan spent more than two hours Friday morning cross-examining State Police Investigator Theodore Levison, who had been among the first officers to interview Denno after Rennie's death.

The attorney sifted through several rounds of statements Denno made to police, through which the defendant's testimony shifted.

“There were approximately five different versions of what happened,” Levison said on the stand.

More information will be added to this story after court adjourns this afternoon.

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