May 9, 2013

Scott Denno guilty, both counts

Convicted of first-degree manslaughter, gang assault

ELIZABETHTOWN — Jurors found Scott E. Denno guilty on Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter and gang assault in the beating death of Robert M. Rennie.

Rennie, a father of two young girls, was found dead by the closed iron bridge in Keeseville on the morning of Aug. 26, 2012.

Denno admitted in court that he was one of three men who kicked Rennie during an attack late the previous night, but he claimed he had used the least force he could.

The medical examiner had ruled Rennie’s manner of death a homicide, finding the Keeseville man had been beaten and died of internal injuries caused by blunt-force trauma.


When Essex County Judge Richard Meyer gave instructions to the jury Wednesday morning, he told the jurors they could also consider second- and third-degree assault if the first-degree gang-assault charge did not hold up against the evidence.

But the 12-person jury did not need to consider further than charges brought by Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague.

Denno was the first in the courtroom to stand up as jurors readied to enter the courtroom.

He stood quietly as Meyer invited their decision.

The moment was tense, a culmination of six full days of testimony in a trial that took more than a week.

Denno stared ahead, his hands clasped in front of him. He didn’t flinch as the guilty verdicts were read aloud.

He looked toward the bench as individual jurors were polled, each standing and answering “yes” that he or she agreed with the verdict on both counts.


Rennie’s family, including his father, Robert J. Rennie, a sister and a brother, also stood steadfast but seemed visibly relieved with the decision.

The family attended every hour of each day of this trial.

As he left the courtroom, Mr. Rennie, the family’s spokesman, said they were grateful.

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