ELIZABETHTOWN — Paige Baker says she had just smoked a cigarette on her balcony and was going inside to lie down when she heard yelling at about 11:30 the night Robert Rennie died.
Testifying in Essex County Court on Friday morning, she told the jury that will decide whether Paul J. Taylor is guilty of murder that she could not discern most of what she heard.
But she heard two things clearly.
One was a man saying, “'I’m going to f******g get you,'” she said, and the other was a man saying, “'OK, I’ve had enough. Get off me,'” and then the same voice saying, “'Help me … someone please help me.'”
Baker said her balcony is situated at the front of the apartment building on AuSable Street in Keeseville, facing the Ausable River and part of River Street. The bridge near where Rennie's body was found on Aug. 26, 2012, is visible from the balcony.
Essex County Assistant District Attorney Michael Langey asked Baker whether she further investigated the disturbance.
She said she did not, saying, “I figured it was just the kids in town … who do a lot of property damage.”
An aerial photograph of the land surrounding the closed bridge on River Street was displayed on a screen in the courtroom to clarify the location of Baker’s apartment for the jury — it is located on the Clinton County side of Keeseville with the bridge a little ways down the street.
Public Defender Brandon Boutelle, Taylor’s defense attorney, asked Baker whether she was sure she heard four male voices that night.
Baker said she was fairly certain she heard the voices of four men, and she was able to distinguish one from the other because of differences in pitch.
Taylor, charged with second-degree murder, felony gang assault and possession of a weapon, sat quietly next to Boutelle during the proceedings and showed little emotion.