Deliberations in Rideout trial to pick up again next week

Friday, July 21

After three days of deliberating, the jury in the Craig Rideout murder trial was sent home for the weekend by Judge Tom Moran. 

Friday in court, jurors asked for clarification of circumstantial evidence, accomplice liability and reasonable doubt. They also requested read-back of testimony on DNA evidence.

One juror told the judge that they had a doctors appointment on Monday. The judge said that would not be a problem.

Thursday, July 20

It was a year ago today when Craig Rideout's body was found in a remote area in Yates County. His estranged wife Laura Rideout, her boyfriend Paul Tucci and sons, Alex and Colin are charged in the murder.

The jury asked to have a read back of testimony from blood spatter expert Paul Kish. They also requested to see Walmart surveillance video.

Jurors also asked for the definitions of second-degree murder and accomplice liability to be read back.

Paul Tucci's defense attorney, Michael Schiano, says it's impossible to read anything into what a jury is doing during deliberations.

"No, not from what I can tell because the last question was about Mr. Tucci, the first one is bout Alex," Schiano said. "So, no. You can't guess, you can't speculate. Let them do their jobs."

The murder trial has lasted more than three weeks with more than 50 people being called to testify.

Day three of deliberations resumes Friday morning.

Wednesday, July 19

It was exactly 365 days ago that Craig Rideout was last seen alive. One year later, those accused in his murder face their fate.

Jury deliberations are now underway in the Craig Rideout murder trial. 

Craig's estranged wife Laura Rideout, his two sons Alex and Colin Rideout and Laura's boyfriend Paul Tucci are all charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Jurors began deliberating around 9:30 a.m. Their first note came in about two hours later where they requested several things; a reading of the charges of murder and tampering with evidence, DNA analyst testimony on swabs taken from gloves, testimony from two witnesses who were at Mendon Ponds Park and the sweatpants.

The jurors second note requested a definition of accomplice liability, circumstantial evidence and reasonable doubt.

The jurors returned from lunch at 1:45 p.m. and went over more than three weeks of testimony from more than 50 people who were called to the stand.

Day two of deliberations resumes Thursday morning.

Closing arguments wrapped up late Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 18

The day started with Laura Rideout's attorney, David Pilato, who says despite what's been said, Laura had no motive to kill Craig Rideout.

On Monday, Collins and Alex's attorneys pointed the finger at Laura saying that the boys were there cleaning up after what fellow family members, namely Laura, had already done. Pilato calls that pure fiction.

"Yesterday, Colin Rideout's attorney literally and figuratively pointed a finger at Laura Rideout," he said. "Came out with some blistering accusations. We submit that these accusations are nothing more than pure fiction. They're not true, that's not what the evidence shows, but never the less he did that.

"There was no proof of motive, there was no proof of a contentious divorce and there was no proof of any dispute in regards to the kids going to North Carolina, in fact it shows the opposite. It shows that Laura Rideout was moving to North Carolina and the kids weren't going with her."

"There's no evidence," Pilato said. "Laura Rideout didn't kill Craig Rideout and despite what the district attorney will argue, and what Colin's attorney already has, she didn't have any reason to."

Tucci's defense attorney Mike Shana also made closing arguments Tuesday, saying what he has said all along; that there's never been any physical evidence pointing to cheat and Craig's home and nothing proving that he killed Craig.

Jurors return at 9 a.m. Wednesday to get deliberations underway.

Monday, July 17

The prosecution rested in the Craig Rideout murder trial after calling no additional witnesses to the stand. All four defense attorneys also rested after calling no witnesses.

Closing arguments began with attorneys for two of Craig's children, sons Colin and Alex. Lawyers for Rideout's estranged wife Laura and her boyfriend Paul Tucci are to present on Tuesday, with the prosecution getting the final word.

It was the last chance for attorneys to make their case to the jury and even the four defense attorneys tell different stories of what appened in Craig Rideout's death. The defendants are pointing the finger at one another as all four all charged with murder and evidence tampering.

"The evidence in this case absolutely cannot support a verdict of guilty in this case," maintained Julie Cianca, attorney for Alex Rideout. "All those exhibits all those witnesses have failed to prove who killed Craig Rideout.

"That's that a terrible thing," Cianca said as he made the case for her client's innocence. "I agree with you. I'd like to believe that's not something any of us would do. We'd call the police. We'd contact the authorities. We'd do something. Let's go back. He's 19 years old. He's a kid. We know his mother's been cleaning up. We know his brother's been there. His family is involved. If you're going to do it for anybody. I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying it's not murder."

Craig Rideout's attorney Matt Parrinello also points his finger at Laura Rideout, saying she sent Colin to buy products at Walmart including drain cleaner that prosecutors say were linked to the murder. Parrniello says Colin had no idea what he was buying those products for. Parinello argues there's no evidence Colin benefited from his father's death. 

"Does it make any sense that someone who gets engaged, planning a future, does it make sense that that person is going to commit murder for no benefit at all to themselves?" asked Matt Parrinello, Colin's attorney, speaking about a motive floated for Laura and Paul Tucci.

Defense attorneys made motions for dismissal, saying the prosecution did not present enough evidence of guilt, a fairly standard move at this point in the trial. The judge reserved his decision. 

Friday, July 14

The prosecution says it will call one more witness on Monday in the Craig Rideout murder trial.

Paul Kish, a blood pattern analysis consultant, gave his review of blood spatter and transfer on clothing linked to this case and blood spatter on walls, boxes, and shelves in the basement in Craig Rideout's Penfield townhouse, where it's believed he was killed. 

Defense attorneys have challenged the DNA throughout this trial and made sure during cross-examination of witnesses that Friday's testimony was an opinion of a paid forensic consultant.

Thursday, July 13

An expert witness from the Monroe County crime lab finished up on the stand Thursday. A significant moment in the trial came when the analyst, Robert Visca, testified that DNA testing linked all four suspects to some of the blood stained evidence, which included jeans, underwear shoes and today — a pair of Nike sneakers.

The defense hammered away at the credibility of the evidence, saying a lot of different DNA collected involves a number of different contributors.

Tucci's attorney, Michael Schiano, says he expects the jury to have a lot of readback regarding DNA testing. The judge told jurors the prosecution may wrap up its case Friday with an out of town witness who is a blood spatter evidence expert.

Wednesday, July 12

Prosecutors plan to wrap up Friday as they present the case against four defendants accused of killing Craig Rideout in his Penfield townhouse and dumping his disfigured remains in rural Yates County.

DNA expert Robert Visca, a forensic biologist at the Monroe County Crime Lab, testified that two pair of blood-spattered jeans that were found contained DNA belonging to two of the defendants: Laura and Colin.

Earlier in the day, defense attorneys questioned the accuracy of DNA testing, and the possibility of cross-contamination with some pieces of evidence.

Tuesday, July 11

Prosecutors played several surveillance videos to jurors Tuesday morning, which purportedly showed Craig Rideout's minivan and another car traveling from Yates County back to Monroe County as the sun rose on the morning of July 20.

Rideout's body was found that same day in Jerusalem, New York, wrapped in a tarp.

The defense objected to the videos, saying they fail to show who is in the van, which the witness admitted he was unable to determine. Prosecutors previously showed jurors a map, detailing the route that say the killer drove the body to Yates County. That map was generated from pings from Rideout's cell phone, which was left in his pocket.

More evidence of blood-spattered or soaked clothing was also submitted, including photos of shirts, pants, shoes, undergarments and four pairs of bloody gloves. Defense attorneys raised issues with how the evidence was collected.

Monday, July 10

A DNA expert who tested bloody jeans, sneakers and other items testified Monday.

Elaine Hamilton works at the Monroe County Crime lab. Among the items she tested as part of the investigation was a pair of blood-covered blue jeans and a sneaker which had a spot of blood on it.

Defense attorneys questioned the validity of other evidence, including cardboard with blood stains, which weren't collected from the Rideout home until two weeks after the killing.

Friday, July 7

An FBI special agent with expertise in tracking cell phone calls testified. Matthew Allen told the court he analyzed Craig's phone, which was found on his person when Rideout's disfigured remains were discovered in rural Yates County.

Allen said he tracked the phone from Penfield to the town of Jerusalem. Jurors observed this graphic:

Wednesday, July 5

The jury listened to testimony from the Monroe County Medical Examiner's office and viewed gory photographs of Craig Rideout's body. 

Colin Rideout's attorney, Matt Parrinello, says he believes they were shown to shock the conscious of the jury and to show the injures. He added he hopes the jury focuses on the "real issues."

Friday, June 30

More photos of evidence were on display for jurors. One photo showed the contents of Craig Rideout's wallet, his ID and health insurance card. Another showed a key inside of a shoe.

Testimony will pick up again Wednesday, July 5.

Thursday, June 29

The remains of Craig, whose face was disfigured by chemicals, were found in a rural location in Yates County, about 50 miles southeast of Rochester.

Back in Mendon Ponds Park, a black plastic bag was found floating in Devil's Bathtub, a pond out in the woods.

Deputy Wendy Sears, who collected evidence as the investigation progressed, testified about the contents of the bag. Photos show bottles of drain opener, along with gloves.

Wednesday, June 28

Photos of the cord allegedly used to the strangle the life out of Craig Rideout, as well as a look at the basement of his Penfield townhome where prosecutors believe he died in July 2016, were on display Wednesday in court.

The photos centered on evidence gathered from the basement, which included cardboard with spots of blood on them and what appeared to be a bloody glove.

Earlier in the day, Mark Bezinque, who who represented Craig throughout divorce proceedings, took the stand. He testified it was Laura Rideout who filed for divorce in the fall of 2014.

Bezinque said Laura Rideout and Paul Tucci discussed moving to North Carolina, but Craig would not consent to move any of their seven children.

Bezinque also stated Craig Rideout was granted custody of the couple's two youngest children and that any time there was a transfer of children, Craig and Laura were instructed by the court to remain in their cars.

Tuesday, June 27

Robbyn Drew, the sister of murder victim Craig Rideout, testified that she went to her late brother's townhouse, only to find Laura, Craig's estranged wife, inside cleaning, where she allegedly said "I knew it wouldn't be long before someone came looking for him."

Laura is charged with murder 2nd in the July 2016 death of Craig, along with the couple's two sons, Colin and Alex Rideout, and Laura's boyfriend, Paul Tucci.

Drew initially reported Craig missing. His remains, disfigured by acid, were found in a rural area in Yates County on July 20 – the same day Drew testified she found Laura Rideout inside Craig's Penfield condo. Laura did not have permission to enter.

Earlier, evidence from the 567 surveillance video cameras at Walmarts in Macedon and Hudson Avenue in Rochester was submitted and the prosecution says the defendants purchased a shovel, gloves, drain cleaner and other items there.

Lawyers for Laura Rideout and Paul Tucci asked their defendants be tried separately over pictures of their clients at the Walmart, but that request was denied.

Attorney Matt Parrinello, who represents Colin Rideout, showed the photos to a witness, and then requested a mistrial, which was also denied.

Testifying Tuesday was Randall Heale, asset protection manager at the Hudson Avenue Walmart, where items bought there the day before Craig Rideout's body was found. The prosecution submitted a receipt showing the purchase of a tarp, bungee cords, three cans of drain cleaner and a bottle of Diet Coke from the store.

Earlier court documents states that Tucci purchased these items. A open Diet Coke bottle was found in Craig Rideout's basement, along with bloody clothes. Heale testified that there are more than 250 surveillance cameras inside and outside of the Hudson Avenue Walmart.

Monday, June 26

A Mennonite farmer was the first witness called to testify in the murder trial of four defendants accused of killing Craig Rideout.

Prosecutors believe Craig was strangled in his townhouse and his beaten body then dumped in the woods in rural Yates County, which is where Lowell Weaver hails from.

Weaver testified Monday that he spotted two parked vehicles on Adams Road in Jerusalem around 5 a.m. on July 20, and told the court that as he pedaled his bicycle past the cars, he saw two "figures" having a conversation.

Weaver said as he was returning home, he found a shovel where the cars were parked earlier that morning. He stopped to investigate and said he followed the matted down grass into the woods where he found a tarp with a body inside.

Following that testimony, jurors were shown a video of the crime scene, and photos of Craig Rideout's disfigured face. Prosecutors say chemicals were poured on it in an effort to conceal his identity.

Friday, June 23

The four people charged in the killing of a Penfield man, including his two sons, estranged wife and her boyfriend, all sat in a Rochester courtroom on Friday to hear their respective defense attorneys and prosecutors give opening statements.

Co-prosecutor James Egan also spoke of "vast" evidence, including Craig's blood on clothing linked to each defendant, bloody clothing and Craig's wallet inside a rental car found at Mendon Ponds Park, and the cord found in the townhouse used to choke the life out of Craig.

As far as a motive, Egan submitted the contentious divorce between Laura and Craig, who was given custody of their two younger children, an alleged obstacle in Laura Rideout and Paul Tucci's plans to move to North Carolina.

Each of the four co-defendants has their own defense attorneys, and in opening statements, all of them reminded jurors to remain critical of evidence submitted, and the principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

Each of the four co-defendants has their own defense attorneys, and in opening statements, all of them reminded jurors to remain critical of evidence submitted, and the principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

Testimony begins on Monday morning.

Each of the four co-defendants has their own defense attorneys, and in opening statements, all of them reminded jurors to remain critical of evidence submitted, and the principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

Testimony begins on Monday morning.

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