NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – After two trials that ended without a verdict, a jury of 16 people is again being assembled to consider the case of Cara Rintala, the woman accused of killing her wife in the couple’s Granby home in 2010. Jury selection in the third Rintala trial began Tuesday at Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton. It’s expected to take days to find 16 impartial jurors, due to the attention this case has attracted, especially in Hampshire County.
In the first two cases, jurors were only allowed to consider a first-degree murder charge against Cara Rintala, but they could possibly consider a manslaughter charge if the judge allows it. The prosecution made the request for this consideration back in July. The defense had asked for the same consideration in the previous trials.
The murder of Annamarie Cochrane Rintala received nationwide attention, in part because it was the first case in which a woman was accused of the murder of her lawful wife.
The defense has argued that there is little evidence to support the prosecution’s claim that Cara Rintala strangled Annamarie in the basement of the couple’s home. The defense has also argued that investigators did not adequately consider other possible suspects in the killing.
Rintala unsuccessfully attempted to have the case thrown out, arguing that trying her a third time would violate her constitutional rights against double jeopardy. The state’s highest court, disagreed however, finding that there was enough evidence to support a conviction during Cara Rintala’s second trial.
Judge Mary-Lou Rupp will once again preside over the trial. She warned the jury pool this trial could take four to five weeks before a verdict is reached.