Local News

May 3, 2013

Doctor: Victim died within 15 minutes

ELIZABETHTOWN — The pathologist who conducted Robert Rennie’s autopsy said it was very likely he died no more than 15 minutes after the beating that inflicted his injuries.

Internal bleeding amounted to about a quarter of the Keeseville man’s total blood volume, Dr. Michael Sikirica told the jury Thursday morning during the third day of Scott E. Denno’s trial in Essex County Court.

Denno, 19, is one of three men accused in the beating death of Rennie last August. He is charged with first-degree manslaughter, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon. 

Michael D. Rivers faces the same charges. Paul J. Taylor is charged with second-degree homicide, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

Rennie’s body was found near the closed iron bridge on River Street in Keeseville on the morning of Aug. 26, 2012. The three men were arrested in October.


Essex County Assistant District Attorney Michael Langey began Thursday’s proceedings questioning Sikirica, who conducted the autopsy on the morning of Aug. 27 at Albany Medical Center.

Sikirica said he is certified in forensics and has conducted more than 9,000 autopsies. While he said he has testified for the prosecution between 400 and 500 times during criminal cases, he told Denno’s defense lawyer, Joe Brennan, during cross-examination that he has been a witness for the defense only three or four times.

At the time of the autopsy, Sikirica said, he received information about the possible nature of Rennie’s death from State Police.

There is no record of the information State Police gave him, he said.


The physician’s 15-page report states the cause of death as internal bleeding and severe blunt force trauma.

When Sikirica examined Rennie’s body, he estimated the man had been dead for between one and two days, as was evident in the stiffness of his joints.

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