“I don’t know why Paul (Taylor) didn’t go with us,” Denno had told police, denying the man had been part of the assault.
On cross-examination, Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague asked Levison to describe how Denno’s three statements unfolded.
“He left Paul (Taylor) out of it (in earlier statements) because he was afraid of him,” Levison told Sprague.
Defense rested its case about 10:37 a.m.
‘TAYLOR’S A VICTIM’
In summation, Boutelle said, “this is a case of family sticking together,” asserting that Taylor was “a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.”
Boutelle pointed to Michael Rivers’s longstanding disdain for Rennie and Scott Denno’s position as a “son” to Rivers and Rivers’s wife, Angela, who had testified early in the trial.
And Samantha LaCroix is a cousin to Mr. Rivers, Boutelle said, who had received an order of protection against Rennie for alleged domestic violence.
“As the saying goes, don’t mess with family,” Boutelle charged. “Samantha’s cousins learned about the abuse … they wanted to protect their cousin against Robert Rennie. Their (Riverses’) actions resulted in the unintended death of Robert Rennie.”
‘NO BLOOD ON BOOT TOES’
Boutelle presented his client as a hard-working man in the summer of 2012 who was also looking for a place to stay.
He further claimed the prosecution “failed to paint a picture of a jealous ex-boyfriend” in its case against Taylor, saying Taylor’s actions with Rennie at a party with LaCroix that night “didn’t act like physical violence was on his agenda.”
“No one knows,” he said, “the extent of Rennie’s injuries” from that first altercation with Denno and Rivers on Front Street.
“Then Angela (Rivers) gets nervous, because she knows she started this whole chain of events with a phone call” reporting Rennie’s visit with LaCroix to police.