Press-Republican

Police, Fire, Courts

October 1, 2013

Essex County jury gets Taylor murder case

ELIZABETHTOWN — During summations in Essex County Court on Monday, the defense drew Paul J. Taylor as a victim of circumstances; the prosecution called him a shark.

The jury received the case at about 1:20 p.m. and still needed more time as court closed at 6 p.m..

They are sifting through nearly five days of testimony and evidence in the homicide death of Robert M. Rennie, a Keeseville father of two who was found lifeless on Aug. 26, 2012, at the foot of Mill Hill.

Taylor is charged with second-degree murder in connection with a beating that prosecution says caused Rennie’s death. The defendant also faces charges of gang assault and possession of a weapon, which in this case is his pair of size 14W, steel-toed boots.

The case alleges that Taylor acted in concert with Scott E. Denno and Michael D. Rivers in punching and kicking Rennie in such a vicious manner that the victim’s lungs were punctured and his liver sliced both front and back. 

Both Denno and Rivers were convicted earlier this year of first-degree manslaughter and gang assault in connection with Rennie’s death.

‘DENNO FEARED TAYLOR’

Monday’s testimony began with witnesses called by Chief Public Defender Brandon Boutelle.

Denno was brought in from Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock. Wearing a dark green prison uniform, he was shackled with heavy chains around the waist and in handcuffs. He spoke only a few words and said he would not testify.

In August, Denno was sentenced to the maximum 25 years in prison for his role in the assault, and he has filed an appeal.

Boutelle then called State Police Detective Theodore Levison, who had taken statements from Denno on the first day of the investigation.

The defense entered Denno’s second statement of three, which made no mention of Taylor’s alleged role in the beating.

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