The Essex County Courthouse.
Photo by Katherine Clark.
continued The victim’s sister, Julie Cookingham, read a statement written by her mother Viada Rennie.
“You knowingly participated in the killing of my son,” Cookingham read. “Because of the heinous nature of this crime it is my opinion that in this situation a sentence should be maximum sentence without the consideration of early release.
“I strongly believe that Scott Denno should never be allowed to reside in Keeseville, NY, again,” read Cookingham.
Essex County District Attorney, Kristy Sprague, asked for the highest maximum sentence for Denno.
“Looking at this defended with a fresh eyes you see a then 19-year-old kid with no real criminal history but what we really have here is a man who violently killed another man, who he didn’t even know,” Sprague opened with.
Sprague said this is a case where the defendant initiated contact with Rennie on the night the assault because he believed Rennie was a “woman beater” and had made threats to burn down Rivers home.
Sprague said Denno aided Michael Rivers because he considered and called him “dad” and that together Denno and Rivers beat and dragged Robert Rennie to a spot where he would later be murdered.
“But for the actions of the defendant, Robert Rennie may be alive today,” said Sprague.
Sprague said during the trial, Denno and his defense had tried to minimize his role in the attack and claimed to be cooperative with law enforcement. Though during the trial, it was revealed that Denno gave several versions of what happened that night. Sprague said Denno has yet to say what truly happened that night or even show remorse for his crime.
“The defendant repeatedly punched and put him in a headlock to the point where Robert fell and needed to be picked up. Then the defendant, along with Michael Rivers, chicken-winged Robert and dragged him to a place where he knew Paul Taylor would be. Yet the defendant claimed to have a minimal role saying he may have thrown a couple of punches but he didn’t use excessive force.”