Local News

September 27, 2013

Woman testifies to witnessing beating

ELIZABETHTOWN — Angela Rivers says she watched husband Michael Rivers, Scott Denno and Paul Taylor assault 118-pound Robert Rennie, who crouched on the ground with his hands covering his head.

She told the jury in Essex County Court that Taylor did not stop kicking the Keeseville man even after she screamed, “Stop!”

Taylor, she testified, delivered another round of blows with his feet, clad in size-14 Chippewa boots.

“‘I’m not f*****g done yet,’” Mrs. Rivers said Taylor told her.

Her appearance on the stand took up much of the second full day of testimony of Taylor’s trial for second-degree murder in connection with the beating death of Rennie on Aug. 25, 2012.

The incident began after Rennie, 45, and Mr. Rivers started to take swings at each other, Mrs. Rivers testified, recounting, “That’s when Mr. Taylor entered the picture. He was airborne, and he punched Mr. Rennie in the back of the head.”

Rennie fell to the ground, she said, “and that’s when the three started kicking.”

This is the third time Mrs. Rivers has told the gruesome account in court, recalling how the three men then attacked Rennie and kicked him repeatedly.

Her husband and Denno were both convicted of first-degree manslaughter and felony gang assault in those two other trials.

On Thursday, Mrs. Rivers laid out events that led up to the fight: her phone call to police reporting Rennie was visiting Samantha LaCroix in violation of an order of protection; the drive to get Taylor from LaCroix’s apartment, where he was drinking with Rennie and LaCroix; and the argument she heard between Rennie, Denno and Mr. Rivers as they walked toward Mill Hill before the physical altercation began.

In court on Thursday afternoon, Taylor watched Mrs. Rivers testify, his jaw flexing sometimes as though he was grinding his teeth.

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