Cara Rintala will face fourth murder trial in Northampton next year


Staff Writer

Published: 07-15-2022 6:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Next fall, Cara Rintala will go on trial for the fourth time for the alleged murder of her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, in their Granby home in 2011.

On Friday morning, Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard Carey said the trial will begin with jury selection on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. Rintala, now a resident of Rhode Island under GPS supervision, was in the courtroom.

First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne reached agreements with Rintala’s defense attorneys — Chauncey Wood and Rosemary Scapicchio — about turning over evidentiary records and the two sides set a pretrial status conference for Nov. 30.

“I don’t think trying this case later this year was ever really realistic,” Gagne said in court, adding that Scapicchio has other trials next spring and that it would be challenging to gather dozens of witnesses during the summer.

Wood is Rintala’s appellate attorney and said last year he does not plan to be involved in the next trial, which prosecutors said is expected to last three to four weeks.

“Murder cases are the most serious cases this office handles,” Gagne said after Friday’s court session. “We believe very strongly in our case and we are committed to obtaining justice for the victim and her family.”

Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, 37, was found beaten and strangled in the couple’s basement on March 29, 2010. When first responders arrived, Rintala was cradling her wife’s body, which was described as cold and covered in paint.

Rintala’s first two trials, in 2013 and 2014, ended in hung juries and she was released on $150,000 bail in March 2014. At the third trial, in October 2016, Rintala was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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That conviction was overturned last September when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that certain testimony was prejudicial and should not have been allowed.

“The Commonwealth argued that the defendant engaged in a scheme designed to cover up her involvement in the homicide by driving around all afternoon, disposing of evidence, and attempting to communicate with the victim to demonstrate that she believed the victim was alive at the time of the calls,” according to the high court’s ruling. “The defendant then intentionally poured the paint on the body and lifted the body onto herself before the police arrived to make the crime more difficult to investigate.”

David Guilianelli, a quality engineer for the paint manufacturer, testified that the paint was deliberately poured and not spilled, and that it was poured within four hours of the time that first responders took photos of the scene.

The court found that Guilianelli “lacked the necessary expertise” to offer such testimony and that the information “likely swayed the jury’s verdict.”

In a statement about the case history, the Northwestern district attorney’s office noted, “The SJC also ruled that the Commonwealth had presented enough evidence in the trial to support a conviction.”

Rintala has been free on $50,000 cash bail since November and the court allowed her to move in with her family in Narragansett, R.I., pending the new trial. Since her incarceration, Rintala’s parents had been raising the now-teenage daughter she shared with Cochrane Rintala.

On Friday, Judge Carey allowed a defense motion for Rintala to go on vacation in Provincetown with her daughter for several days next month and extended her 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. curfew by one hour each night. Prosecutors did not object.

Brian Steele can be reached at]]>