Police, Fire, Courts

March 19, 2014

Rivers sentencing set for April 4

ELIZABETHTOWN — Michael D. Rivers’s sentencing in connection with a 2012 homicide is now April 4.

The Keeseville man was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter for his part in the gang assault on Robert M. Rennie, who died as a result of repeated kicking and beating.

Rennie was found dead beside the barrier to the closed iron bridge in Keeseville. His liver was lacerated in several places from being kicked, and each of his ribs was broken.

Rivers was convicted by a jury for manslaughter and felony gang assault late last May. His sentencing has been moved three times due to issues he has expressed with legal counsel.


When Rivers was in court for sentencing in January, Essex County Judge Richard B. Meyer had asked him why communication with attorneys broke down.

Without providing an answer, Rivers said he had told his second court-appointed attorney not to speak in court.

Meyer asked Rivers if he wanted to defend himself or hire his own a counsel.

But the convicted man said “no.”

With that, the judge assigned a third court-appointed attorney to Rivers.

Essex County Court officials said Glens Falls attorney Martin McGuinness was appointed to represent Rivers at sentencing, the final step before the case is closed.


The two other men involved in the gang assault that led to homicide are in state prison.

Scott E. Denno and Paul J. Taylor were both on trial last summer.

Denno was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and felony gang assault, then sentenced in August to spend a maximum 25 years in prison.

Taylor was convicted by a jury in early October 2013 and sentenced in December to 25 years to life for second-degree murder, felony gang assault and weapons possession. He had recently been released from prison after serving a 14-year term for manslaughter dating back to 1996.

Denno is incarcerated at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock in Washington County. His first available release date is March 2, 2034, according to the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s online Inmate Population Search site. 

Taylor is listed at Auburn Correctional Facility in Auburn; his first parole eligibility date is listed as April 2, 2041.

Rivers’s sentencing has been set for April 4.

Email Kim Smith

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