Denno trial: Medical examiner says death caused by severe trauma

— Day three of the trial of Scott E. Denno began with expert testimony from forensic pathologist and medical examiner.

Autopsy results concluded the death of Robert Rennie was caused by severe blunt force trauma that caused extreme internal bleeding.

Denno, 19, along with Paul Taylor, 39; Michael Rivers, 36; all of Keeseville were each charged with gang assault first degree after investigations by the New York State Police and the Essex County District Attorney’s office. Denno is also charged with manslaughter in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon.

Dr. Michael Sikirica of Albany took the stand and said he examined Rennie’s body beginning at the skull down through the exterior of the body before doing an internal exam. He presented photographs to the court of Rennie’s body revealing lacerations and bruising at various points from his face to his legs. The internal evaluation led Sikirica to testify that he attributed Rennie’s cause of death to be two collapsed lungs.

“I could tell he was a heavy smoker but his ribs had busted into his chest cavity and into his lungs,” said Sikirica. “This caused his lungs to collapse, known as subcutaneous emphysema.”

This occurs when air gets into tissues under the skin. This usually occurs in the skin covering the chest wall or neck.

After examination of the chest and abdomen, Sikirica said there was an excess of blood in the chest cavity he determined to be caused by severe injury to internal organs.

“There were 200 ml of bloody fluid in the left chest cavity and 100 ml of bloody fluid in the right chest cavity,” said Sikirica.

Though Sikirica did not give an approximate time of death in his final evaluation he told the court that he believed Rennie succumbed to his injuries and died within 15 minutes.

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