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Cara Lee Rintala jury seeks judge’s help in murder case

  • Defendant Cara Lee Rintala is seen during her murder trial in Hampshire Superior Court on Thursday. After about 20 hours of deliberation, jurors Tuesday sought clarification from the judge about the definition of reasonable doubt and guidance on working toward a consensus. <br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Defendant Cara Lee Rintala is seen during her murder trial in Hampshire Superior Court on Thursday. After about 20 hours of deliberation, jurors Tuesday sought clarification from the judge about the definition of reasonable doubt and guidance on working toward a consensus.
    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • February 22, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Photo by Michael S. Gordon/The Republican - Cara L. Rintala watches as the jury enters the Hampshire Superior Courtroom Friday.  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

    February 22, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Photo by Michael S. Gordon/The Republican - Cara L. Rintala watches as the jury enters the Hampshire Superior Courtroom Friday. Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Defendant Cara Lee Rintala is seen during her murder trial in Hampshire Superior Court on Thursday. After about 20 hours of deliberation, jurors Tuesday sought clarification from the judge about the definition of reasonable doubt and guidance on working toward a consensus. <br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • February 22, 2013 - Northampton, Mass. - Photo by Michael S. Gordon/The Republican - Cara L. Rintala watches as the jury enters the Hampshire Superior Courtroom Friday.  Rintala is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala.

Cara Rintala, 46, formerly of Granby, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in connection with the strangulation death of her wife Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, 37, in 2010.

About 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, jurors sent Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup two questions — one from a juror asking to speak to Rup, and a second from the jury as a whole seeking clarification on the definition of reasonable doubt and guidance on working toward a consensus.

The reason for the request to speak to the judge wasn’t discussed in court, but Rup did say that it was resolved in addressing the second question.

Rup told the jury, comprised of seven men and five women, that she would address their remaining questions first thing Wednesday morning. The judge dismissed the jury about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.

In his closing statement March 7, defense attorney David Hoose of Northampton characterized the case against his client as circumstantial, marred by shoddy investigative work and a presumption of Cara Rintala’s guilt from the start.

Prosecutors allege that Cara Rintala killed her wife after a tumultuous relationship that included dueling divorce and restraining order filings, debt approaching $100,000 and arguments over custody of the couple’s 2½-year-old daughter in the event of a split.

Testimony in the trial began Feb. 20.

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

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