The Essex County Courthouse.
A jury found Scott E. Denno guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree gang assault after three-hour deliberation on May 8 for the death of Robert M. Rennie, of Keeseville.
Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Meyer sent the jury into deliberations shortly after 10 a.m., and they were back with a verdict shortly after 1 p.m.
A third charge of criminal possession of a weapon relating to the footwear Denno was wearing when he admittedly kicked Rennie during the attack was dropped on May 7.
Denno, 20, of Keeseville, was found guilty of his involvement in the death of Rennie on Aug. 26. Rennie’s body was found near an iron foot bridge on Mill Hill Road in Keeseville on the same day. Autopsy reports showed he died from blunt force trauma that caused two collapsed lungs and internal bleeding.
Denno was charged along with Paul Taylor, 39, and Michael Rivers, 36, all of Keeseville. They were each charged with first-degree gang assault after investigations by the New York State Police and the Essex County District Attorney’s office in relation to Rennie’s death.
After court closed, members of Rennie’s family were thankful for the jury’s decision.
“I would like to say thank you to the jury and the prosecution for all their hard work,” said Rennie’s father, Robert J. Rennie, adding that he was relieved after sitting through the trial that began May 1.
“It’s stressful,” he said. “You’re reliving the crime all over again. It happened once. Now we have to go over it again and again, and we’re going to have to do this two more times.”
The father met with the jurors afterward and thanked them in person and told them how much he hopes this verdict can send a message to people in the community.
“I’d like to thank all of you. You did a great job and justice was served,” he said. “This should set a precedent for other kids that gang assault is not acceptable.”
Robert J. Rennie said he remembers a Keeseville with a lot less crime and hopes it can change.
Denno’s sentencing will be held on June 27 at 2:15 p.m. at the Essex County Courthouse.
Jury selection for Rivers will begin on May 20 at 9 a.m. at the Essex County Courthouse. Rivers is charged with first-degree manslaughter, gang assault and possession of a weapon for Rennie’s death.
In June, Taylor is to be in court, accused of second-degree murder, gang assault and weapon possession.