Dateline revisits Rideout murder case in new report

September 23, 2017 09:03 AM

It was a tragic case that captivated our community: A national audience heard the story of the murder of a Penfield father of seven during an episode of Dateline on Friday.

The name of the segment is "Devil's Bathtub" -- a reference to an area of Mendon Ponds Park where crucial evidence was found in the case.

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Craig Rideout was beaten and strangled to death in the basement of his Penfield townhouse in July of last year. His body was found a day later in a wooded area in Yates County wrapped in a tarp and tied with bungee cords. His face had been disfigured by drain cleaner.

Facing trial for his murder were Craig Rideout's estranged wife Laura Rideout, their sons Colin and Alex, and Laura's boyfriend Paul Tucci.

Julie Cianca says, "I've never felt that type of tension in a courtroom."

Cianca was the attorney who represented Alex Rideout.

Brett Davidsen: "Is he struggling at all with the prospects of spending the next few years in prison and struggling with the fact that his brother and mother are probably going to be in there for 25 years or more?"
Julie Cianca: "He's struggling with being isolated from his friends and family."

Despite the verdicts, she says she doesn't know who the true killer or killers were. "I don't know what happened. There isn't enough evidence in that basement or anywhere else to indicate exactly where he died, how he died, and what order were those injuries applied to him."

But a five week trial laid out evidence of a contentious divorce and child custody battle -- and ended with Laura and Colin Rideout being found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence. Alex Rideout was found guilty of tampering. Tucci was acquitted of all charges.

Clara Washington was one of the 12 jurors who rendered that split verdict.

Brett Davidsen: "Did you ever talk about motive while you were deliberating?"
Clara Washington, juror: "Yes. Yes we did. And we didn't know it. We really didn't know. Divorces happen all the time. Murders don't happen with divorce most the time. So we didn't know the motive for any of them."

Brett Davidsen: "Is there a witness during the course of this trial that you think was the most significant to the prosecution's case?"
Julie Cianca: "Yeah.... yeah. The spatter guy."

The guy she's talking about is Paul Kish, a forensic consultant and expert in blood stain pattern analysis.

Brett Davidsen: "Why was he so important to the jurors?"
Cianca: "Because he interpreted the tea leaves for the jurors."

Kish determined that based on the blood spatter on the clothing belonging to Laura and Colin Rideout, they were in close proximity as Craig Rideout was being beaten.

Cianca says, "I think there are a lot of huge leaps there to come to that conclusion."

Washington says during deliberations, the jurors applied the relevant evidence and decided one's fate before moving on to the next defendant.

Brett Davidsen: "Were any of them where you said you were all in agreement right from the get go?"
Clara Washington: "Yes."
Davidsen: "Who was that?"
Clara Washington: "Probably Tucci."

Paul Tucci, Laura Rideout's boyfriend, was the only defendant to walk out of the courtroom a free man. He told Dateline the same thing he told me: That he wasn't involved in the murder or attempted cover-up of the crime and doesn't know who killed Craig Rideout.

Paul Tucci: "I'm not here to change your mind. It's a sad story. A murder did occur. But, I don't think the whole story is out there and that the jury necessarily got it right."

Brett Davidsen: "When I interviewed Paul Tucci the day after the verdict, he told me he didn't know who committed the crimes. Do you believe him?"
Clara Washington: "Do I believe him? There are some things hidden that we don't know."

The episode of Dateline is now streaming here


Brett Davidsen

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