Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
M/sunny
54°
M/sunny
Hi 56° | Lo 33°

Jurors in Cara Lee Rintala murder trial see graphic crime scene

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. appears in Hampshire Superior Court Thursday as testimony continues in her first degree murder trial. Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. appears in Hampshire Superior Court Thursday as testimony continues in her first degree murder trial. Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Judge Mary-Lou Rup addresses the jury Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Judge Mary-Lou Rup addresses the jury Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Lt. Michael Pandora of the Granby Fire Departmetn and a paramedic reviews exhibits with First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Lt. Michael Pandora of the Granby Fire Departmetn and a paramedic reviews exhibits with First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Lt. Michael Pandora of the Granby Fire Departmetn and a paramedic testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Lt. Michael Pandora of the Granby Fire Departmetn and a paramedic testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. appears in Hampshire Superior Court Thursday as testimony continues in her first degree murder trial. Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.
  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.
  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Judge Mary-Lou Rup addresses the jury Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.
  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.
  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Granby Police Sgt. Mark Smith testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.
  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Lt. Michael Pandora of the Granby Fire Departmetn and a paramedic reviews exhibits with First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.
  • February 21, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Republican staff photo by Michael S. Gordon - Lt. Michael Pandora of the Granby Fire Departmetn and a paramedic testifies Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Cara Rintala of Granby, Mass. in Hampshire Superior Court  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

Cara Rintala, 46, has pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to a single count of murder in connection with the strangulation and beating death of Annamarie Rintala, 37, in the couple’s Granby home on March 29, 2010.

Jurors on Thursday were shown a 15-minute video shot by state police in the couple’s home the morning after the killing.

The last few minutes of the video show in graphic detail the condition of Annamarie Rintala’s body, clad in jeans and a sports bra. The right side of her face was covered in white paint, the other half was smeared with blood, her neck was bruised and her eyes were open.

Cara Rintala broke down in tears when images of her dead wife were on screen. Members of Annamarie Rintala’s family in the courtroom gallery looked away or down at the floor during these moments.

Two paramedics and a Granby police officer who responded to the home testified Thursday.

Granby police Sgt. Mark Smith was the second to arrive that evening, after Officer Gary Poehler, who testified Wednesday.

Both men were under the impression they were responding to a domestic assault in progress, not a slaying, according to their testimony.

Smith said he entered the home and heard a woman crying in the basement.

Smith said he saw Poehler in the basement standing near Cara Rintala, who was sitting on the floor cradling the lifeless body of Annamarie Rintala.

Cara was crying, “She’s dead. I can’t believe she’s dead,” Smith said.

Smith said he went to his cruiser to get a medical bag and brought it into the house, but after a brief examination of Annamarie Rintala’s body, he determined any effort to resuscitate her would be futile.

Smith said Annamarie Rintala showed no signs of life, no breathing, her face and skin were blueish in color, and her arms and skin were stiff.

Smith said Annamarie Rintala’s body was so stiff by the time he arrived that there was no flexibility in it when he and Poehler rolled it off Cara Rintala.

Smith described Annamarie Rintala’s body as moving as “one unit.”

Gene Os, a paramedic for the South Hadley and Granby fire departments and American Medical Response, a Holyoke ambulance company, made a similar assessment of Annamarie Rintala’s condition. He said her eyes were open and her pupils fixed and dilated, which he said is a sign of death.

Northampton defense attorney David Hoose disputed claims from the witnesses that Annamarie Rintala’s arms were so stiff that they didn’t drop to the floor when she was on her back. He also sought to cast doubt on the police officers’ expertise in determining the time of death.

Os testified that he saw Cara Rintala experience a minor nosebleed while she was washing some of the paint from her hands and face in the bathroom.

Os said he thought so little of the nosebleed he didn’t make a note of it while collecting information about the scene for his report.

Os said the paint that covered part of Annamarie Rintala’s body and the floor appeared wet and shiny.

“It looked brand new,” he said.

The condition of the paint may factor into future testimony, because prosecutors are attempting to prove Cara Rintala killed her wife earlier in the day, left the house in the afternoon for a few hours and returned about 7:10 p.m.

The prosecution claims Cara Rintala staged a break-in by damaging an exterior door jamb with a shovel and pouring a can of paint on the basement floor, much of which wound up on Annamarie Rintala’s body.

The question of exactly when Cara Rintala last spoke to her wife also came up in testimony. Michael Pandora, a paramedic for the Granby Fire Department, said Rintala told him the last conversation happened about 10 a.m. March 29. Os said Rintala told him the couple last spoke between 2 and 4 p.m., according to their respective testimonies.

Both women were paramedics, Cara Rintala for the Ludlow Fire Department and Annamarie Rintala for American Medical Response.

Pandora said Cara Rintala had told him about some of the couple’s financial troubles, including allegations that Annamarie had taken about $20,000 from her retirement account and applied for a credit card under her name, both without her wife’s knowledge.

Prosecutors claim crushing debt of about $95,000 was a motive for Cara Rintala killing her wife.

Under cross-examination, Pandora testified that when Cara Rintala spoke about the unauthorized transactions she was upset, but not angry, and resigned herself to letting the couple’s divorce lawyers “sort it all out.”

The couple were married in Provincetown on Aug. 8, 2007.

Each spouse filed for divorce in the spring of 2009. Both cases were eventually dismissed, according to court records.

Cara Rintala faces life in prison if convicted. The trial continues this morning.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.