Malin Cederquist: Plenty of reasonable doubt in Rintala murder case

Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
To the editor:

This letter disputes certain claims made by a letter-writer in the Feb. 18 Gazette about the Rintala murder case.

The time of death of the victim, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, could not be accurately determined — it may have occurred either before or after Cara Rintala, the defendant, left the couple’s home, which she said was around 3 p.m. The conclusion of the testimony by Dr. Joann Richmond for the prosecution and Dr. Jonathan Arden for the defense, on direct examination and cross examination, is that the death could have occurred before or after 2:30 p.m. on March 29, 2010, in either event resulting in the appearance of rigor mortis by the time the emergency responders arrived at the crime scene, shortly after 7:15 p.m.

It was impossible to determine when the paint was poured over the dead body — it may or may not have been “freshly poured” at the time the emergency responders arrived at the crime scene. There was conflicting evidence regarding the color of the paint — emergency responders described it as pink, but crime scene photographs failed to show the pink color. Notably, Glidden, the paint manufacturer, advertises this kind of paint as being pink when applied, but turning white within one hour of application. However, at least one consumer has complained on Glidden’s website that the paint kept turning pink for weeks after application, when exposed to humidity in a bathroom. Moreover, we don’t know how such paint would react when poured, in a thick layer, over a dead body in a damp basement.

Consequently, the letter-writer appears to be wrong in finding Cara Rintala guilty beyond reasonable doubt because “the body was stiff and the paint was freshly poured,” suggesting the paint was poured long after the murder took place.

As shown by the defense, Cara Rintala may not have been “the only person with motive and opportunity” to commit the murder.

Malin Cederquist