SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - A Rotterdam man charged with multiple counts of murder, rape and arson in connection to the double slaying of a mother and daughter in their home pleaded not guilty in Schenectady County Court Wednesday.
28-year-old Brice Rivenburgh, of Oaklawn Avenue, was handed a 26-count indictment Tuesday in connection with the April 10th crime which police outlined during a press conference.
The Rotterdam Police Department, New York State Police and the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office announced the upgraded charges against Rivenburgh Tuesday including four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree rape, and sexual abuse in connection to the killings of 52-year-old Tammy McCormack and her daughter, 23-year-old Jessica McCormack.
Members of the McCormack family were present in court for Rivenburgh's arraignment Wednesday.
"It's heartbreaking because we're such a close family and you can't fix this and you can't get them back," said Tammy's cousin, Doreen Pitsas. "All we can hope for is justice and pray. Pray for our family to get through this."
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney says Rivenburgh had an on-again off-again relationship with Jessica, but recently had a falling out. Carney did not confirm a motive behind the crime or say exactly how the women died.
Carney says there were three separate entries into the McCormack residence during the course of the crime. He says the first entry occurred before 2:30 a.m. on April 10th, during which he raped Jessica, caused the death of both Tammy and Jessica, and also stole a television set.
Carney says Rivenburgh then went back into the house twice after killing them; the second entry was made between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. when he took food containers from the home. He was then seen around 6 a.m. burning the shirt he was wearing at the time of the crime and a bank statement.
"It was the fact that his name wasn't burned when the patrol officer got to [the document] that he as able to identify it as potentially belonging to Rivenburgh." Carney says officers later found Rivenburgh shirtless in his car outside his home.
The third and last entry was made around 10 a.m., according to Carney, when he attempted to start a fire in Jessica's bedroom. Police do not believe he forced his way into the home at any point.
Brad McCormack, Jessica's brother, arrived at the home shortly after when his mother's place of work called to inform him she had not shown up.
The women were discovered dead in separate upstairs bedrooms in their home at 1142 Inner Drive in Rotterdam.
Carney says Tuesday that Rivenburgh faces arson for starting fire in the bedroom and multiple evidence tampering charges for trying to cover up the slayings by texting Jessica twice after she was dead, first saying something along the lines of "Do you want to hang out today?" and second saying "Are you still mad at me?"
Rivenburgh was initially charged with burglary after the killings, which police say they were using to hold him while they conducted their two-week investigation.
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