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Half of jury selected in murder trial of Cara Lee Rintala

— With jury selection only half complete and a three-day weekend approaching, it may be early next week before the murder trial of Cara Lee Rintala gets under way.

Rintala, 46, has pleaded not guilty a charge of murder in connection with the strangling and beating death of her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, 37, in the couple’s Granby home March 29, 2010.

A total of 16 jurors are being sought, 12 to deliberate on the case and reach a verdict and four alternates.

The trial is expected to last about four weeks.

Five jurors were selected Monday, and another three were chosen Tuesday before the pool of about 49 people was exhausted.

Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup said Tuesday that because the pool of prospective jurors scheduled for Wednesday was so small — about 20 people — the court will skip jury selection that day and resume Thursday with a larger, combined pool to select from.

If a full jury isn’t seated Thursday, jury selection will resume Tuesday.

Prospective jurors aren’t summoned for duty on Fridays and court will be closed on Monday for Presidents Day.

Rintala faces the possibility of life in prison without parole if convicted.

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

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