Cara Rintala Trial: Live updates from Da...
9:10 a.m. Fred Contrada signing on to cover the murder trial of Cara Rintala.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:11 
9:12 a.m. The judge and attorneys have been at sidebar since the courtroom opened. We can't hear what they are saying. The room is packed. There are media and lawyers here. There might be members of both the victim's and defendant's families.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:14 
9:15 a.m. They appear to be talking at sidebar to a juror. The court went through four days of jury pools to get 12 jurors and 4 alternates.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:17 
9:17 a.m. Judge Mary Lou Rup is telling people that seating is limited in the courtroom and the court will do its best to accommodate everyone. She emphasized that this is a formal setting. There should be no talking or emotional responses to testimony. Family of Annamarie and Cara Rintala will have priority regarding seats. No cell phones or eletronic devices, no picture-taking, except for the media.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:22 
9:23 a.m. The jury has entered. There are 12 men and 4 women.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:25 
9:24 a.m. Judge Rup is going over standard questions she asks juries every day at the start of a trial: Did you read or discuss anything concerning the case? Anything you want to share with me? The assistant clerk then swore in the jury and read the murder indictment. Rintala, she said, has pleaded not guilty. If she is guilty, you are to say so. If she is not guilty you are to say so and no more.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:28 
9:27 a.m. Rup laid out the trial: opening statements, the hearing of evidence (opening statements, she noted, are not evidence), closing statements (also not evidence). You will make your decision based on what happens in between opening and closings. You and you alone are they judges of the evidence in this case. She will give them detailed instructions about the law after the case is closed. They should not discuss the case before all the evidence has been presented.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:32 
9:31 a.m. Rup continued... No casual conversations or any conversations with anyone while the case is in progress. Evidence, she explained, will consist of two things: evidence presented by witnesses and exhibits (such as photos). If videotapes are shown, you will be able to review them during deliberations.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:35 
9:35 a.m. Rup explained the rules about objections during questioning and cross-examination. If the judge allows an objection about something a witness says, the jury must disregard what was said, even if they have heard it. This is not always the easiest thing to do.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:39 
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
are both sets of parents for both Annamarie Cochrane and Cara Rintala in the courtroom today?
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:40 Guest
9:39 a.m. I have not had the chance to scan the courtroom. Most of the people are behind me. I know what Annamarie\'s parents look like. I do not know Cara Rintala\'s family by sight.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:41 
9:43 a.m. Rup: It\'s up to each juror to judge the credibility of witnesses.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:44 
9:44 a.m. Rup is informing the juror that there will be what they call of "view" of the crime scene, maybe next Monday. This will be at the house in Granby where Cara and Annamarie Rintala lived with their daughter and where the incident took place. Please don't drive around there on your own, Rup said.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:45 
9:45 a.m. Rup: Don\'t do your own research or detective work. Don\'t go on line to check people or events or things out. Don\'t read or listen to what the media is reporting.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:46 
9:50 a.m. This will not be like "CSI' or "Law and Order" or shows of that type, Rup said.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:51 
9:55 a.m. Rup: Don\'t chit-chat with or eavesdrop on anyone you recognize in this courtroom outside the courtroom. Don\'t be offended if someone here does not greet or appear to recognize you on the outside.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 9:56 
9:58 a.m. Sitting on a jury calls into play all the life skills we employ every day. How you size someone up. What weight you give to what they say. How much you believe them or do not believe them. What actions or reactions seem reasonable or logical to you in the context of a story.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:00 
10:00 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will be full days in court, Rup said, 9:a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The court has other matters to attend to, which is why they leave time on Tues. and Thurs. afternoons. These are mostly brief matters such as arraignments, pleas, probation violation hearings and scheduling for other trials.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:02 
10:04 a.m. Rup explained the presumption of innocence. In theory, the defendant could not testify or call any witnesses and put it on the prosecution to prove she is guilty. This is seldom done, however.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:06 
10:06 a.m. Rup explained the legal elements of murder in the first degree (murder with premeditation or extreme atrocity or cruelty). It would be up to the jurors to decide between first and second degree murder if they deem Rintala guilty. Murder One carries a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. There is the possibility of parole in second degree murder.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:09 
10:12 a.m. Much of what Rup is telling the jurt is boilerplate court stuff. However, both sides get to weigh in on how she will explain specific aspects of the case and how they should put them in context.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:13 
10:13 a.m. First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne is giving his opening statements. The Rintalas were married for 2 1/2 turbulent years. 3 times the Granby PD had to get involved, twice as a result of 911 calls by Cara. By March, 2010 they were $95K in debt. Their marriage ended on March 29, 2010. Not with divorce or separation but with murder. In the basement of their own home on a cold cement floor. With Annamarie's body in a pool of fresh paint and blood. The person who ended that marriage is right here: Cara Lee Rintala. She ended it with her own two hands.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:17 
10:17 a.m. Gagne: Sept. 27, 2008, Cara and Annamaria both showed up at Granby PD. Cara charged with assault and battery and arrested. Cara said she was \"bamboozled\" by Annamarie. May 12, 2009, first 911 call from 18 Barton St. was an abandoned call. Dispatcher called back, heard screaming in background. Another hangup. Dispatcher calls again, hears female voice saying \"Just leave!!\" Police go the scene and the women say baby pulled the phone off hook and accidentally dialed 911. Cara called police a few weeks later, advise the women to go to court for restraining orders against her other. When they do, Cara admits she placed the first 911 call, the same day she filed for divorce from Annamarie. Second call same day Annamarie served divorce papers v. Cara. Cara tells judge she has reached \"all I can take.\" Summer of 2009, Annamarie moves out to Hadley, goes back to Granby to get some things. Annamaries\'s mom calls and Cara tells her to \"come get you --- daughter out of this house.\"
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:22 
10:22 a.m. Gagne: They visit Nancy Kaufman in Feb. 2010 in Florida. Kaufman, Annamarie\'s aunt, will testify about the arguments she heard. $1,100 a month due in auto loans. Annamarie opened a credit card under Cara\'s name and racked up $25K, says Cara, that Annamarie stole money out of Cara\'s retirement fund, that Annamarie emptied the baby\'s piggy bank.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:25 
10:24 a.m. Gagne: Both women worked as paramedics, took home about $70k a year combined. Evening before the incident, Annamarie goes to work, leaves Cara home with baby, learn a friend of Cara has shown up with a six-pack. Annamarie not pleased, texts Cara to call her. \"You don\'t respect me. I hate the relationship we have. I\'m going to leave.\" Annamarie works till 8 a.m. the next morning, picks up donuts, goes home. Cara gets call in for 3 hours of OT that morning, comes home.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:28 
10:27 a.m. Gagne: About 7 p.m. that night neighbor calls Granby police to report Cara knocked on his door and handed him the baby and said \"Call 911. Ann\'s in the basement.\" Police respond. Go down to basement. See Cara sitting on the cement floor \"with Annamarie\'s cold, stiff as a board body laid across her lap.\" A pool of fresh wet paint spilled on the floor and on the body. \"I can\' believe she\'s dead,\" says Cara. Cara tells police \"We were fighting all last night.\" Police remove Cara from under the body and sit her at kitchen table upstairs.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:31 
10:30 a.m. Gagne: Paramedics respond. This cold is long since deceased, ice cold to the touch, so stiff police could not bend her arm. Upstairs Cara continues talking about how they were fighting, says she last saw Annamarie at 3 p.m. A critical time, says Gagne. Cara asks to go to bathroom to wash up. Paramedic says OK. Paramedic notices Cara\'s nose starts to bleed.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:33 
10:32 a.m. Gagne: Cara wants to go into bedroom and gets Annamarie\'s cell phone. Police say no. Cara says \"I know I\'m the number one suspect.\" She goes to Granby PD for interview with state police. Jury will hear that interview. Gagne says Cara talks about debts, fighting, where she was that day. She went on errands, to Holyoke Mall, came home with the baby, noticed the side door in garage was open. Brianna, 2 1/2, says \"Mama\'s in the basement,\" according to Cara. Cara looks downstairs, see\'s Ann\'s foot, according to her story. \"This trained paramedic packs up kid, dog, exits the house\" and goes to neighbor\'s.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 10:37 
From the newsroom: We're dealing with a power supply problem; live updates should resume shortly.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:06 
11:18 a.m. Defense attorney David Hoose is giving his opening statement. Hoose described Cara as a responsible woman who loved Annamarie. I don\'t know who killed Annamarie Rintala, Hoose said. He, (referring to prosecutor Gagne), doesn\'t know either.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:19 
11:19 a.m. Hoose is telling the jury that Gagne must prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. 18 month investigation, Hoose noted. "This supposedly bloody rag which is supposedly big piece of evidence." They knew about that right away, Hoose said. Why did it takwe them 19 months?
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:21 
11:21 a.m. Hoose is saying that much of the evidence Gagne shared in his opening was known to prosecutors and police right away. Why did it take them so long to charge Rintala? he asked. Hoose promised to question prosecution witnesses hard. He is suggested that the prosecution did not promptly chekc the alibi of other people.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:24 
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
we missed the rest of the DA's opening statement
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:25 Guest
11:24 a.m. Hoose is saying the prosecution must convince the juror that Rintala is so cold blooded that she not only killed her wife but cleaned up the scene and took the baby out for the afternoon on errands, then came back and covered herself with her wife's blood and paint "because that was the best way to get away with it."
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:26 
@Guest: We had a hiccup with the power supply, so the live updates were down for several minutes. We will try to catch up with the rest of Gagne's opening statement during a break. (From Greg Saulmon in the newsroom.)
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:26 
11:25 a.m. "You're going to hear all the dirty laundry from this marriage," Hoose said. Hoose said it was always Cara who called 911. Why? Because she handles things responsibly.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:27 
11:27 a.m. Hoose told the jury it will hear that all the cross-complaints were dismissed. He said the two "got read the riot act" by a district court judge. "They learned their lesson and there was never another 911 call."
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:28 
11:29 a.m. Hoose said that even while they were separated they were in touch with each other. They ultimately decided they loved each other, he said. In Nov., Cara asked Annamarie to move back in with her. Went to church and counseling together. "There were still problems, but they had learned how to deal with their problems."
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:30 
11:30 a.m. Hoose said they jury is going to hear there was genuine love and caring between the wives.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:31 
11:31 a.m. Hoose said the prosecution falsely presumed the time of death, that the time of death is hard to pin-point. He urged the jury to listen carefully to testimony about how the medical examiner determined the time of death.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:34 
11:34 a.m. Hoose said there is no mystery to the gap in calls on the cell phones of the two woman, that Annamarie might hyave turned hers off to get some sleep.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:36 
11:35 a.m. Hoose said the prosecution also falsely presumed Cara killed her wife because she was financially irresponsible. Cara paid her bills on time every month and was not in default, Hoose said.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:38 
11:37 a.m. Hoose told the jury that the wives kept their finances separate and that Cara was doing well financially at the time of the incident. He mentioned that "loan" Annamarie took out from Cara, said Annamarie was paying Cara off for it. When Annamarie died, Hoose said, Rintala became responsible for the loan.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:40 
11:40 a.m. Hoose said Rintala had 5 payments left on her car loan. Annamarie had a $40K mini-van. After Annamarie died, Cara sold the van and paid off the note at her own expense, Hoose said.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:43 
11:42 a.m. Hoose scoffed at the notion that debt was a motive for Cara to kill Annamarie.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:44 
11:43 a.m. Hoose said a witness the jury will hear was "smitten" with Annamarie to the extent that he would give her money at any time.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:45 
11"45 a.m. Hoose mentioned Carla Daniele, a "girlfriend" of Annamarie who helped her get set up "and basically gave her carte blanche" to the tune of $10K on her credit card.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:47 
11:46 a.m. Hopefully, said Hoose, none of us will ever come home to find our loved dead on the basement floor. He said Rintala cooperated with the investigation.
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:48 
11:47 a.m. Hoose noted that Rintala went next door and asked the neighbor to dail 911. "Then she sat down in this hour of grief and talked to Lt. Whitney for 2 hours and 40 minutes."
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:50 
11:49 a.m. Hoose said state troopers will "nit pick" her every word "to support their belief it was Cara who murdered her wife."
Wednesday February 20, 2013 11:51 
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