NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A judge has turned down a request by Cara Rintala to reduce her conviction from first-degree murder down to second-degree murder or manslaughter. Judge Mary Lou Rup, who presided over Rintala’s three trials, says that the jury was justified in finding that the defendant had murdered her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, with “deliberate premeditation.”
Annamarie Cochrane Rintala was found strangled in the basement of the couple’s Granby home in 2010. Prosecutors noted that the couple had a troubled relationship, which included accusations of infidelity, financial issues, restraining orders, and calls to police. Juries in the first two trails against Cara Rintala ended in a mistrial after the juries failed to reach a unanimous verdict, but she was convicted during the third trial this October, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The defense had moved to have Judge Rup set aside the verdict in favor of a conviction on one of the lesser charges. The law allows a judge to do so, if he or she determines that doing that would be “more consonant with justice” than letting the original verdict stand. Rup, however, said that the fact that Annamarie Cochrane Rintala was strangled shows that there was deliberate premeditation. In her decision, she wrote that deliberate premeditation does not require planning far in advance; intent can be formed in just a matter of seconds.
Had Rup accepted Rintala’s motion, the defendant would have hope of release from prison. A second-degree murder conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of life in prison with eligibility for parole in 15 years. A voluntary manslaughter conviction carries with it a sentence of eight to 25 years.