Press-Republican

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May 4, 2013

Witness describes brutal beating in Keeseville

ELIZABETHTOWN — Angela Rivers says she watched her husband, Michael D. Rivers, and Scott Denno dragging Robert Rennie down Mill Hill on the night of Aug. 25, 2012.

“My husband, Michael, and Scott each had one of Mr. Rennie’s arms,” Mrs. Rivers testified in Essex County Court on Friday. “He (Rennie) was hanging back like a child (with its parents) that doesn’t want to walk with them. They walked towards me until they got to straight across from me in the road.”

Denno is on trial for first-degree manslaughter and other charges in the beating death of Rennie; Mr. Rivers will face those same charges in court later this month, and Paul J. Taylor, charged with second-degree murder and other crimes, is slated for trial in June.

Denno, Mrs. Rivers testified, stood off to one side as Mr. Rivers and Rennie started yelling and took one swing each at each other that night, she said.

“That’s when Mr. Taylor entered the picture,” Mrs. Rivers said, describing how he leaped into the air, reached over Mr. Rivers’s head and punched Rennie, who fell to the ground.

“Then the kicking started. Once he hit the ground, I just seen feet,” Mrs. Rivers said.

“Taylor started kicking, then Scott and my husband started kicking.”

ORDER OF PROTECTION

Earlier that night, Mrs. Rivers had testified, describing the events that led up to the violence, she had driven her husband and Denno to the home of Samantha LaCroix.

LaCroix and Mr. Rivers are cousins, she said, and Rennie had been dating her for about a year.

But, she said, LaCroix had been granted an Order of Protection from Rennie about five months prior to the night he died, and Mr. Rivers had been concerned that Rennie was with LaCroix.

“I assume Michael wanted to see if he could see anybody in the window,” she said. “We parked by the trees in the trailer park.”

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