On NBC’s ‘Dateline: Devil’s Bathtub,’ Paul Tucci, one of the accused in the July 2016 murder of Craig Rideout, a 50-year-old New York computer programmer in Penfield, New York, spoke about the case. Though the prosecution initially accused him of being a co-conspirator in the homicide and his girlfriend and her sons were convicted, a jury acquitted him of all charges in 2017. So, who is Paul, and where is he now? Let’s find out.
Who is Paul Tucci?
Paul “PJ” Tucci was a longtime family friend of the Rideouts and had lost his wife, Jennifer, to significant health problems in 2014. He struck up a relationship with Laura Rideout as her 20-year-long marriage with Craig Wallace Rideout was in shambles by then. Laura filed for divorce in the late summer of 2014 and moved in with Paul and her oldest five children, while Vraig won the custody of their youngest two. By early summer 2016, Laura and Paul planned to move to North Carolina and wanted to take the youngest kids.
They had packed a moving van and had signed a lease on an apartment in North Carolina by July 19, 2016. However, Craig refused to part with his children, causing prominent friction between him and the rest of his family. His eldest child, Colin, even sent Craig angry emails, accusing him of mental abuse and manipulation, about a week before the murder. The prosecution alleged Paul was involved in Craig’s homicide, helping his girlfriend and her sons to get rid of their problem.
Investigators found video surveillance footage of Paul and Laura buying bottles of Liquid Lightning Drain Opener from a Walmart store a few days before the murder. The prosecution played the footage, which showed Paul handing over the cash for the purchase at the register while Laura loaded bags back into the cart. The authorities also found Paul’s vehicle driving alongside Craig’s minivan on the early morning of June 20, 2016 — around the time Craig was murdered. Both the cars were headed to where officers will eventually locate Craig’s body.
Despite such evidence, a jury acquitted Paul of murder charges and tampering with evidence. He left the courtroom a free man while his girlfriend and her sons walked out in handcuffs. He watched his three co-defendants get sentenced while sitting in the courtroom’s public gallery. Paul was seen giving a handful of interviews to local media in the days after the verdict and appeared on the Dateline episode on the case. Otherwise, he has stayed out of the spotlight.
Where is Paul Tucci Now?
According to reports, Paul Tucci had put his 5-bedroom house in Perinton for sale a few months after his trial and moved away from western New York. According to a 2018 interview, he maintained his innocence and declined to discuss case details to not jeopardize the appeals of the three convicted. However, he stated he was worried the prosecution might go after people who had not been previously charged since there is no statute of limitations in a murder case. He also expressed his disbelief at the jury’s verdicts.
Paul said, “Neither of us thought (the) convictions were coming.” He added, “It was not their (the jury’s) job to, quote, ‘figure it out.’ The jury’s job is to weigh the evidence that’s presented. Not to speculate on what happened, but that’s what they did. We still don’t know who killed the guy (Craig).” He was optimistic about the appeals process and declared the three convicts innocent. He stated, “I maintain their innocence, at least to murder. I know where everybody was that night.”
Paul also spoke of his longtime friendship with Craig, who lived in a neighboring apartment when they were both young, single, and fresh out of college. He recalled, “Craig was brilliant. He would make you laugh. He loved discussing politics and playing video games.” According to him, they remained close friends for many years, and as each man married and had children, those kids grew into an extended family.
However, Paul’s relationship with Laura destroyed their close bond. Reports state he resided in Bedford, New York — a short distance from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where Laura is incarcerated. According to his social media, he is based out of Bluffton, South Carolina, and is the CEO of a company. He continues to pay Laura regular visits in prison.
Read More: Craig Rideout Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?