Cara Lee Rintala jury deadlocked, mistrial declared
Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Rup, seen here on the opening day of testimony Feb. 20, declared a mistrial Wednesday after the jury reported being deadlocked in the murder trial of Cara Lee Rintala in Northampton. The jury reported that it had failed to reach a unanimous verdict after two votes. KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup on Wednesday declared a mistrial in the Cara Lee Rintala case after the jury reported being deadlocked.
After a total of about 24 hours of deliberations, jurors in the murder trial gave their first indication Wednesday that they were having difficulty reaching a unanimous verdict.
Then they returned to tell the judge that they were deadlocked and unable to reach agreement on a verdict.
Rintala, 46, formerly of Granby, pleaded not guilty to the strangulation death of her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala in the basement of the couple’s Barton Street home on March 29, 2010.
Jurors sent a note to Rup about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday informing her that after two formal votes, they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Rup read the “Tuey-Rodriguez” instruction which asks jurors, in part, not to assume that any other 12 people could decide this case any better than seven men and five women who are serving on this jury. She then sent them back to continue their deliberations.
Later in the afternoon the jury returned and reported it could not reach a verdict either to acquit Cara Rintala or find her guilty of murder in either the first or second degree.
Rup denied a request by First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne to also instruct jurors that a disagreement between the degrees of guilt is not a true deadlock.
Testimony in the trial began Feb. 20 and concluded Thursday.
Cara Rintala faced life in prison without parole if convicted of murder in the first degree. If convicted of murder in the second degree, she may be eligible for parole after 15 years.