A judge has denied a request by Cara Rintala to be released from prison pending her appeal from a 2016 conviction for first degree murder in the 2010 death of her wife.
Rintala, 53, was found guilty by a Hampshire Superior Court jury on Oct. 7, 2016, for strangling Annamarie Rintala in the basement of their Granby, Massachusetts home. It was the third time the case was tried, after two previous trials resulted in hung juries.
First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne and Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Suhl represented the Commonwealth in the case. Defense attorneys David Hoose and Luke Ryan represented Rintala.
Rintala is appealing the verdict on the basis that the Commonwealth should not have been allowed to introduce expert testimony regarding ceiling paint that was poured at the crime scene. Prosecutors argued that Rintala poured the paint shortly before police arrived at the home, in an effort to conceal the crime and contaminate the scene.
Superior Court Judge Richard Carey wrote in his Jan. 26 decision denying Rintala’s motion for a stay that her argument is "wanting and without any weight.”
In her request to be released from prison pending the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision on her appeal, Rintala also cited the risk of contracting Covid-19 in prison. But Judge Carey wrote that prisoners in Massachusetts are now being vaccinated against the virus and "the specific risk to this defendant, in view of her age and medical conditions, is minimal."
The SJC is expected to hear Rintala's appeal in early April.
“We are pleased the Court denied the defendant’s request to be released from prison pending her appeal, and we look forward to her conviction being affirmed,” said Gagne.