NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The third trial in a murder case that has received national attention will be starting up this week in Northampton. Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday in the trial of Cara Rintala, who is accused of strangling her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, at their Granby home back in 2010.
Cara Rintala has been put on trial twice already for Annamarie’s killing, but mistrials were declared both times, after juries failed to reach a verdict. She remained jailed following the first trial, but was granted bail following the second hung jury.
What may be different in this third trial is that prosecutors recently asked a judge to allow the jury to consider a manslaughter charge against Cara Rintala. In the previous two trials, the jury was only allowed to consider a murder charge. The defense had made the same request in earlier trials.
In the previous two trials, the defense had argued that investigators did not consider other possible suspects in Annamarie’s killing, and that there was very little evidence tying Cara Rintala to the crime.
Rintala had appealed to the state’s highest court, saying that having her placed on trial a third time would amount to a violation of her constitutional protection against double jeopardy. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected that argument, however, saying that there was enough evidence for a jury to reasonably conclude that she and her wife were the only people inside their home at the time of the killing.
Susan Norton of Florence told 22News she hopes the case doesn’t shed a negative light on Northampton; “Negative attitudes about same-sex couples, but they’re the same as any kind of couple.”
Phillip Maurer of Northampton said domestic violence affects everyone; “People talk about it only happening from men towards women. And really, the reverse can be true. It can happen between men, between women. And it’s more of a human trait than anything unfortunately.”
The Rintala trials have received nationwide attention because the case marked the first time that a woman was charged with the murder of her lawful wife.