July 26, 2017 07:13 PM
There are a lot of people in the Monroe County Sheriff's Office who think Paul Tucci should be locked up.
In fact, the sheriff told us Wednesday, a day after the verdict, he thinks Tucci murdered Craig Rideout and helped destroy evidence.
In an exclusive interview, a lead investigator in the case spoke with News10NBC about the investigation.
Investigator David Bolton has no qualms saying that Paul Tucci should have been convicted of murder because of the evidence he collected, but apparently jurors had some doubt -- which he thinks points more to how the legal system works than how investigators conducted the investigation. In his mind, Paul Tucci had to be involved.
"It's violent and it's botched up," said Investigator Bolton.
David Bolton was one of the first investigators at Craig Rideout's townhouse, collecting bloody items and ultimately helping to arrest the victims’ sons, his estranged wife and her boyfriend, Paul Tucci.
Rebecca Leclair: "So you think Paul Tucci is the murderer?"
Investigator Bolton: "I think Paul Tucci and Colin Rideout together. What happens in their initial plan, I think they intend to choke Craig Rideout out and kill him and I think they think that's going to be a blood-less murder."
Bolton continues, "They didn't account for Craig Rideout fighting to live and Craig Rideout fighting for his life. And that became a struggle they didn't anticipate. And when that happened I think Paul Tucci got nervous and grabbed an iron and smashed Craig Rideout in the head."
Investigators found the murder weapon there: A garrote, but no iron. "We did recover two plastic pieces that form the point of an iron," says Bolton.
Bolton feels it was all part of Laura Rideout's plan.
Leclair: "Do you think she was the orchestrator?"
Bolton: "I think her wishes were to move to North Carolina with the Tucci family and her children and she looked for a way to make that happen."
And even though Paul Tucci was not convicted, Bolton points to Tucci being seen on Walmart surveillance footage with Laura. They were buying a tarp, bungee cords and drain cleaner. He says it shows involvement in the cover up and disposal of the body in Yates County. And Tucci's DNA was also found on a bloody glove, but that apparently was not enough for jurors.
Investigator Bolton says, aside from the murder, Paul Tucci was most likely needed to carry the body out of Craig Rideout's basement, drive it to Yates County and help dump it near a farmer's field.
He feels the victim's sons wouldn't have been strong enough to do that nor his estranged wife.
"Laura Rideout is about 106 pounds," says Bolton. "Colin, not a very big guy either."
Bolton spoke to the estranged wife the night the body was found and immediately his suspicions were raised. "She started telling me that she had been in Craig's van a week prior to clean the back of it but I had never asked any of those questions -- giving excuses and reasons why her DNA might show up in places."
He also talked to the Rideout sons at Mendon Ponds Park the next day when deputies found them disposing of evidence in Devil's Bathtub.
"Alex was a little different, he was much more -- he had much more emotion," says Bolton. "He was speaking pretty rapidly and he wanted to talk about how bad a person his father was."
"When I first talked to Colin he was -- his demeanor was calm and was certainly not acting as if he was hiding from anything," Bolton adds, "or anything suspicious."
Updated: July 26, 2017 07:13 PM
Created: July 26, 2017 06:36 PM
Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company