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In day 4 of Rintala trial, jury hears about texts, visits slaying scene

  • Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup speaks to members of the jury in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala on Monday before they travel to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup speaks to members of the jury in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala on Monday before they travel to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, officers of the court and attorneys in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala prepare to lead the jury in a view of Rintala's former Barton Street home in Granby on Monday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, officers of the court and attorneys in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala prepare to lead the jury in a view of Rintala's former Barton Street home in Granby on Monday.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne addresses the jury Monday before the court travels to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne addresses the jury Monday before the court travels to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Cara Lee Rintala and her defense attorney David Hoose listen to Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup address the jury Monday before the court travels to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Cara Lee Rintala and her defense attorney David Hoose listen to Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup address the jury Monday before the court travels to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, officers of the court and attorneys in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala prepare to lead the jury in a view of Rintala's former Barton Street home - the site of the murder - in Granby during a trial in March. That trial was declared a mistrial. A new trial is expected to begin in January.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, officers of the court and attorneys in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala prepare to lead the jury in a view of Rintala's former Barton Street home - the site of the murder - in Granby during a trial in March. That trial was declared a mistrial. A new trial is expected to begin in January.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup speaks to members of the jury in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala on Monday before they travel to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, officers of the court and attorneys in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala prepare to lead the jury in a view of Rintala's former Barton Street home in Granby on Monday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne addresses the jury Monday before the court travels to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Cara Lee Rintala and her defense attorney David Hoose listen to Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup address the jury Monday before the court travels to Granby to view Rintala's former Barton Street home.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, officers of the court and attorneys in the trial of Cara Lee Rintala prepare to lead the jury in a view of Rintala's former Barton Street home - the site of the murder - in Granby during a trial in March. That trial was declared a mistrial. A new trial is expected to begin in January.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

Cara Lee Rintala, 46, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in connection with her wife’s strangulation and beating death March 29, 2010.

David Swan, a member of the state attorney general’s cyber-crime division, testified about text and voice messages sent between the two women’s phones during the 23 hours before Rintala’s body was discovered March 29, 2010, beginning the evening of March 28.

Meanwhile, jurors also heard Monday from forensic scientist Jennifer Preisig, who said she collected several pieces of evidence from the couple’s Granby home on April 1, 2010, and a laundry basket from inside Cara Rintala’s truck which had a small reddish-brown stain that tested positive for blood.

In his opening statement last week, prosecutor Stephen Gagne alleged that the blood matched Cara Rintala’s.

Preisig’s testimony will continue today.

Text messages

According to the court testimony, beginning about 8:25 p.m. March 28 and continuing until early the next morning, a series of calls and text messages from Annamarie Rintala’s phone were received by Cara Rintala’s phone every few minutes.

The text messages from Annamarie Rintala’s phone expressed frustration about a male friend of her wife’s being at the house and socializing while Annamarie was working an overnight shift as a paramedic for American Medical Response, a Holyoke-based ambulance company.

“It is becoming very clear how you feel about me,” one of the messages from Annamarie Rintala’s phone read. “I HATE THE RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE,” read another.

A message from Annamarie Rintala’s phone to her wife’s sent about 12:41 a.m. asked if the friend was still in the couple’s Granby home and expressed frustration that several sent messages went unanswered.

“Two can play that game,” part of the message read.

Those messages and calls continued until about 2:37 a.m., the morning of March 29, according to Swan’s testimony.

Later in the day, under cross examination, Cara Rintala’s attorney, David Hoose, had Swan read through other messages between the couple’s phones, going back about two weeks before Annamarie Rintala was killed.

Those earlier messages shifted in tone between messages of love and acceptance from one to the other to a message from Annamarie’s phone accusing Cara Rintala of looking through messages on her phone.

Other texts between the couple’s phones contained romantic messages and photos of Annamarie Rintala with the couple’s daughter.

“If I wasn’t already spending my life with you, I’d ask you out,” read a message from Annamarie Rintala’s phone to Cara Rintala. “Holding you in my arms makes me complete. You are my life,” read another sent from Annamarie Rintala’s phone about five days before she was killed.

Swan also testified about other cell phone messages between Annamarie Rintala and a friend of hers, Mark Oleksak of Westfield, beginning about 8 a.m. the morning of the killing.

In those messages, Oleksak and Annamarie Rintala made arrangements to visit at a future date while Cara Rintala would be at work. The messages also contained promises from Annamarie Rintala’s phone about a “big kiss” from her and an Easter present she had made for Oleksak, and wanted to give him.

In the message, Oleksak was instructed to say the present was something he won at a raffle, so he may be able to display it in his home without arousing suspicion.

In testimony, Swan said there was no entry by name for Oleksak in Annamarie Rintala’s phone, but text messages were sent to the number that corresponded with his phone.

The last call made from Annamarie Rintala’s phone was about 12:21 p.m., the day she was killed, to her aunt, Nancy Kaufman, of Florida, according to Swan.

Jurors Monday also heard from Cara Rintala’s phone messages from the same time period.

Beginning about 4:48 p.m., Swan said unread messages were sent from Cara Rintala’s phone to her wife’s, expressing concern that Annamarie Rintala might be oversleeping and asking her if she was still upset about a visit previous evening by a friend of Cara Rintala’s.

A series of five voicemails left by Cara Rintala on her wife’s phone were played for the jury.

On those messages, Cara Rintala’s voice can be heard saying “you’re beginning to make us worry,” and asking why she hadn’t picked up nor returned any calls or messages.

Cara Rintala’s voice is heard describing the shopping trip she and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter were on as well as the routes they were taking and their approximate whereabouts in the Holyoke and Chicopee area.

Jurors began their day taking a brief look inside the home where Annamarie Rintala was slain.

The group of 16 jurors, court staff, lawyers for both the defense and prosecution and presiding Judge Mary-Lou Rup toured the couple’s former home inside and out for about 30 minutes.

Cara Rintala did not go on the tour, as is often the case in criminal trials, Rup told jurors. She instructed them not to infer anything by the fact that Cara Rintala was not there.

Chemist testimony

Preisig testified she collected three other pieces of evidence from the home; a grey rag, a pink rag and a pink cloth diaper.

Those items were recovered from a trash can in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in Holyoke that Cara Rintala allegedly visited the day of her wife’s death, according to previous testimony.

Preisig testified she only collected the rag evidence for submission to a state crime lab and didn’t test those items herself.

She testified she did test the heads of a set of golf clubs in the couple’s basement, none of which tested positive for blood.

Annamarie Rintala was found on the basement floor of the couple’s home strangled and beaten to death surrounded by a pool of paint.

The trial continues Tuesday with Preisig’s cross examination. Cara Rintala faces life in prison if convicted. Testimony in her trial began last Wednesday and is expected to last several weeks.

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

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