They tried to burn off Craig Rideout's face using drain cleaner

By Harriet Sokmensuer
July 26, 2017 03:54 PM
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A New York man was murdered by his wife and son, who then teamed with his other son to cover up the crime, PEOPLE confirms.

Laura Rideout and son Colin Rideout were convicted of second-degree murder by a Monroe County jury on Tuesday for the strangulation of Craig Rideout, a court official tells PEOPLE.

The couple’s other son, Alexander Rideout, was acquitted of murder charges, PEOPLE confirms. But Alexander and Colin were both convicted of two counts of tampering with evidence; Laura was also found guilty of second degree burglary and one count of tampering with evidence.

The verdicts come more than a year after Craig Rideout was murdered. At the time, Laura and Rideout were separated. She and her children were living with her boyfriend, Paul Tucci. On Tuesday, Tucci, who was also charged with murder, was acquitted of all charges.

Prosecutors believe a messy custody battle and divorce were the motive for the murder.

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On July 20, 2016, Craig Rideout’s disfigured body was found wrapped in a tarp in a wooden area in Yates County. He had been strangled, with his face and fingernails burned off. Identifying his body took days, WHEC reports.

Rideout’s sister reported him missing on the afternoon of his murder, the outlet reports. Worried, she had gone to his home, only to find Laura cleaning it. “Laura said she was just tidying up because the kitchen smelled. I thought this was unlike Laura, because she rarely cleaned when she was living with my brother.” she told investigators, WHEC reports.

paul-tucci
Paul Tucci
| Credit: Marion County Sheriff's Office

The next day, following an anonymous tip, Monroe County deputies discovered Alexander and Colin disposing of evidence, including acid-based drain cleaner used to burn off Rideout’s face and fingerprints, into a local pond, according to multiple reports.

On July 19, surveillance footage from a local Walmart showed Laura and Tucci purchasing drain cleaner, tarps, bungee cords and work gloves used to cover up Rideout’s murder, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.The pair were arrested for tampering with evidence.

“This was definitely one of the most heinous cases I’ve seen in my more than 30 years in law enforcement,” said Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. “To see someone so horrendously murder their own flesh and blood is unbelievable.”

rideout-trial
Credit: Marion County Sheriff's Office

On Tuesday, Michael DiPrima, Laura’s attorney, said he and his client were surprised by the verdict.

“I’m disappointed,” DiPrima told NCB10. “We were certainly hopeful with regard to the murder charge and the burglary charge that she would be acquitted on those.”

Speaking to the Democrat and Chronicle, Craig Rideout’s mother said the jury’s verdict was bittersweet for her family.

“Of course he meant a lot to me,” Ness Rideout said. “I’m pleased to have justice for him (Craig), but as a grandmother I do have mixed emotions.”

Lawyers for all three convicted family members tell PEOPLE they plan to appeal.

Second Assistant District Attorney Timothy Prosperi did not return a request for comment.