Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786

Judge again denies bail for accused killer Cara Lee Rintala

  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

    03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Judge Mary-Lou Rup listens to arguments in the Cara Rintala bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court on Monday afternoon.

    03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Judge Mary-Lou Rup listens to arguments in the Cara Rintala bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court on Monday afternoon.

  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court on Monday afternoon.

    03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court on Monday afternoon.

  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

    03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

    03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.
  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Judge Mary-Lou Rup listens to arguments in the Cara Rintala bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court on Monday afternoon.
  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court on Monday afternoon.
  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.
  • 03/25/13-Greenfield-Staff photo by Dave Roback-Cara Rintala at her bail hearing in Greenfield Superior Court with attorney David Hoose on Monday afternoon.

Her attorney, David Hoose of Northampton, expressed disappointment and said Rintala was not a flight risk before being charged in her wife’s 2010 strangulation death, and she’s not a flight risk now as she waits for a new trial.

Prosecutors applauded Judge Mary-Lou Rup’s decision and said they are looking forward to bringing the case back to trial as soon as possible.

Rintala, 46, formerly of Granby, is accused of killing her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, 37, in the couple’s Barton Street home on March 29, 2010.

She pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in a trial that ended without a verdict March 13. The jury deadlocked after about 30 hours of deliberations, prompting Rup to declare a mistrial.

On Monday, Rintala broke down in tears and began sobbing moments after Rup, who presided over the monthlong trial, said she was denying the motion to set bail at $100,000 and that Rintala would continue to be held without the right to bail until her new trial.

Rintala has been held without bail since shortly after her indictment in October 2011.

Rup said she regarded $100,000 as insufficient to guarantee her continued appearances in court, even if she were placed under house arrest as a condition of her release.

In his argument for bail, Hoose said family, friends and supporters of Rintala had raised $100,000 on their own, hoping it would be enough to secure her release. He said if she were to be released, a former co-worker of hers would have allowed her to live in an apartment attached to his Ludlow home instead of in Rhode Island, where she was living when she was indicted.

“We’re very disappointed,” Hoose said following the hearing. “I’m not sure what the judge’s thinking was on it.”

“We have a good judge, a reasonable judge and we put a reasonable proposal before her,” Hoose said.

After the hearing, First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne, who has been prosecuting the case, said it’s rare to see bail in a murder case set lower than $250,000 to $500,000.

Rup denied the bail without prejudice, meaning the issue can be taken up again later.

Gagne said his office could be ready for a new trial as early as April, if the court’s schedule could accommodate it.

But Hoose said at the hearing that the earliest he could retry the case is October, and that’s only if a case he’s involved with later this year doesn’t go to trial. Otherwise, Hoose said, he’s not available to defend Rintala until January.

Rup set a status hearing for July 11 to determine which of those months, if either, is available to schedule Rintala’s new trial.

Hoose said the Rintala family has asked him to remain on as attorney, but even if a new lawyer were to take on the case, it would probably take him or her until the end of the year to be ready to bring it to trial.

At trial, Rintala’s defense team criticized the state’s handling of the investigation, claiming they’d presumed her guilt from the start at the expense of investigating other leads and theories.

Prosecutors alleged that after a tumultuous relationship including accusations of domestic violence, cross-filings of divorce papers and restraining orders against each other, Cara Rintala strangled her wife to death and attempted to cover up the crime.

The trial began with jury selection Feb. 11 and ended in mistrial March 13.

Attempts to reach jurors for comment have been unsuccessful.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Rintala faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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

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