Press-Republican

September 12, 2013

Michael Rivers sentencing adjourned

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — The sentencing of Michael D. Rivers, convicted of first-degree manslaughter in the beating death of Robert M. Rennie, has been moved to November.

It had originally been scheduled for Thursday.

Rivers has a new attorney, Alexander Shmulsky of Ticonderoga, who was assigned to him by Essex County Court Judge Richard B. Meyer.

Shmulsky asked the court for an adjournment to read through the trial documents and case files.

Rivers’s sentencing was moved to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

Attorney Greg LaDuke, who represented Rivers during the trial, told the Press-Republican that he asked the court that he be released as counsel after his client gave a media interview against his advice.

Rivers had blurted out a request for a new attorney near the end of his trial, but the court rejected it, LaDuke said.

CONVICTED IN MAY

A former resident of Keeseville, Rivers, 36, was convicted in late May of manslaughter and gang assault after a week-long trial by jury.

Rennie, a 45-year-old Keeseville widower with two young daughters, died of blunt force trauma and internal bleeding attributed to injuries from the beating, according to testimony in court. Both his lungs were punctured by ribs broken in the attack.

His body was found near the closed iron bridge off Mill Hill Road in Keeseville on the morning of Aug. 26, 2012. 

Scott E. Denno, 20, was convicted of the same crimes as Rivers in early May for his part in the assault. He was given the maximum 25-year sentence on Aug. 8.

A third man, Paul J. Taylor, faces charges of second-degree murder, gang assault and possession of a weapon in Rennie's death.

His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 23, in Essex County Court.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com