No verdict on first day of  deliberations in Rintala murder trial

  • NORTHAMPTON – Cara Rintala stands during her trial in Hampshire Superior Court Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016 in Northampton.  GAZETTE STAFF / ANDREW J. WHITAKER

  • NORTHAMPTON – Hampshire Superior Court judge Mary-Lou Rup talks with First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne Friday before the start of the third day of defense testimony in the murder trial of Cara Rintala in Northampton.

  • NORTHAMPTON – First Assistant District Attornery Steven Gagne listens during the Cara Rintala trial in Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (Dave Roback / The Republican)

@mjmajchrowicz
Published: 10/4/2016 1:01:14 PM

NORTHAMPTON — No verdict was reached after the first day of deliberations in the third Cara Rintala murder trial.

After nearly six hours, the jury of five women and seven men ended their discussions at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Four jurors, all of them women, were selected at random in court to serve as alternates, which means that they will not participate in deliberations unless another juror becomes indisposed. 

Testimony concluded Monday after 11 days, followed by Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup instructing the jurors for about two hours on the law.

For the first time in this case, Rup told jurors Monday they may also consider the charge of voluntary manslaughter. If Rintala is convicted of manslaughter, she would face less prison time — a maximum of 20 years —  than the mandatory life sentence for a murder conviction.

Rintala pleaded not guilty to the March 2010 strangling death of her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, who was found bloodied and covered in paint at the bottom of the basement stairs in the couple’s Granby home.

Rintala has maintained her innocence since October 2011, when she was indicted by a grand jury and charged with murdering her wife. Rintala, 49, remains free after posting $150,000 bail in spring 2014.

Rintala has been tried twice for the crime, in 2013 and 2014, with both trials ending in deadlocked juries. In those trials, juries deliberated for four and five days, respectively. 

Prosecutors allege that Rintala killed her wife sometime before 3 p.m. March 29, 2010 and left with the couple’s then-2-year-old daughter, Brianna, to run a series of errands in order to be shown on surveillance footage at those businesses.

According to prosecutors, Rintala texted and called her wife — despite knowing she was dead — throughout in an effort to establish an alibi. And when she arrived home, prosecutors said Rintala dropped her daughter off at a neighbor’s, asked them to call 911 and returned to her own basement where she poured paint over Cochrane Rintala’s body in an effort to contaminate physical evidence.

The defense lawyers counter by explaining that Rintala left the house around 3 p.m. to let Cochrane Rintala sleep after she worked an overnight shift as a paramedic.

David Hoose, Rintala’s attorney, has said throughout the trial that investigators unfairly zeroed in on Rintala after dispatchers and first-responders characterized the incident as “domestic.”

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.


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