Cara Rintala Trial: Live updates from Da...
 
9:06
9:04 a.m. Fred Contrada signing in to cover the Cara Rintala murder trial for The Republican on Masslive. Several jurors are reporting to Judge Mary-Lou Rup that it would a problem for them to go full days next Tues.and Thurs. The original plan was to have half days of testimony on those days.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:06 
9:07
9:06 a.m. The prosecution reports that the medical examiner, one of its key witnesses, is scheduled to take the stand today.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:07 
9:14
9:12 a.m. The judge is discussing with various jurors the potential problems not only of full days on Tues. and Thurs. next week but of possible going into the following week. It's likely the jury will be deliberating into the second full week in March.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:14 
9:20
9:15 a.m. Rup tells the jury that because some jurors will be unavailble next Tues. it will be a half day. Thursday will be a full day. She says the next two witnesses will offer professional opinions. She is giving them special instructions on weighing expert opinion, a common practice for judges. She says jurors must view their testimony as they would that of any other witness, accept or reject their opinions, decide whether or not the witnesses are properly traing, whether or not they have some bias. Ultimately, it is up to the juror to assess their testimony.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:20 
9:28
9:20 a.m. Gagne calls Tina Gryszowka, a DNA analyst at the Mass. state police lab. She explains what DNA is, that's it's in every cell in your body, your blueprint. It's inherited.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:28 
9:45
9:43 a.m. This seems to be the site that is being visited so I will blog here. Sorry for the confusion. Tina Gryszowski, the DNA analyst for this case, is on the stand. She works at the state police lab.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:45 
9:50
9:44 a.m. Gagne draws her attention to three items of evidence. The first is a hair sample from right hand of Annamarie. Two is a hair from her left hand. Gagne shows photos of Annamarie's hands, swollen with blood upon her death. Gryszowska is explaining how she examined the hairs. She says the first hair matches Annamarie's own hair, not Cara's or that of Mark Oleksak, the other two DNA samples she had.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:50 
9:51
From the newsroom -- some earlier updates that Fred tried to post during a brief technical issue:

9:37 a.m. DNA can be degraded by rain, Gryszowka says. Gagne asks about a chemical called OT for short that's used to find presence of blood. He asks if OT can produce false positives. She says it can react with rust and other items besides blood to show a positive.

9:32 a.m. Gryszowka explains how DNA is degraded, how it is deposited on a surface.

9:31 a.m. Earlier the judge asked the jury if any of them would have a problem going full days on Tues. and Thurs. of next week. Several said they did. As a result, the court will have testimony for a half day next Tues. but go a full day next Thurs.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:51 
9:52
9:49 a.m. Gryszowka talks about probabilities. They use a mathamatical calculation to figure the chances that the DNA came from another person. Some of this testimony is highly technical.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:52 
9:54
9:52 a.m. Sometimes the odds are in the quintillions that it could be someone else's DNA, she says. The comparison depends on how many markers she can get off the sample.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:54 
9:56
9:53 a.m. The second hair found on Annamarie also matched Annamarie's and not Cara's or Oleksak's, Gryszowka said. The third item she looked at, a hair found on the chest of the victim, matched Annamarie's own DNA as well.
Friday March 1, 2013 9:56 
10:01
9:56 a.m. Gagne moves on to a second set of items, all collected at Annamarie's autopsy. The first is "trace material" from her left hand (human hairs). Their DNA matched Annamarie's not Cara's or Oleksak's. A hair from Annamarie's chin matched her own DNA. A hair from Annamarie's pants matched he own DNA. Fingernail scrapings from Annamarie matched her own DNA.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:01 
10:05
10 a.m. Gagne goes onto blood stain found on the basement floor near the victim. Gryszowka got DNA from it. Some of it was Annamarie's, some could not be identified (but did not match Cara's or Oleksak's).(It belonged to someone else). Gagne cites more blood stains from fingerswipes on the wall by the stairs, show a picture of it. It matches Annamarie's, not Cara's or Oleksak's.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:05 
10:08
10:05 a.m. Blood on basement stairs matched Annamarie's DNA, not Cara's or Oleksak's. Swab from door latch on cellar bench had material. Skin cell DNA had a mixture, some was Annamarie's, Cara and Oleksak excluded as sources.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:08 
10:09
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
In describing Annamarie's hand you said it was "swolen with blood upon death." By that, do you mean that there was blood on the exterior of her hand or that it was swolen and discolored?
Friday March 1, 2013 10:09 Guest
10:10
10:08 a.m. I don't see external blood. My understanding is that, upon death, blood pools at the lowest point in the body according to gravity.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:10 
10:15
10:10 a.m. Gagne is showing a chart with Annamarie's DNA profile. He shows Gryszowka a cutting from a blood stain on the basement floor near the stairs. It matches Annamarie's DNA. Swabs from shelf (3 samples) tested positive for Annamarie's DNA.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:15 
10:22
10:15 a.m. Gagne goes on to gray rag from McDonalds trash. Gryszowka tested a swab from the rag. Annamarie is a potential contributor. There were only two places on the rag that met the threshold for statistics. This sample looked to be degraded, she says, was beginning to break down. Exposure to rain could have degraded it, she says.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:22 
10:26
10:21 a.m. Gagne moves on to three final items. The first is a swab from outside of shower curtain liner. Gagne shows a photo of it. DNA matches Cara's, not Annamarie's or Oleksak's.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:26 
10:31
10:25 a.m. The next item is a swab of blood from the laundry basket in Annamarie's Honda, The DNA, Gryszowka says, matched Cara's.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:31 
10:31
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
so the curtain liner dna belongs to the defendent?
Friday March 1, 2013 10:31 guest
10:31
10:30 a.m. Yes.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:31 
10:33
10:31 a.m. Gagne refers to a blood stain on a necklace. Shows Gryszowka a photo of it. I believe earlier the necklace was described as Cara's. The DNA matched Cara's.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:33 
10:34
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
so what does that say for the defendent her dna on liner
Friday March 1, 2013 10:34 guest
10:34
10:33 a.m. That's for the two sides to argue and the jury to decide.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:34 
10:38
10:34 a.m. Gagne done. Hoose on cross.
Tina Gryszowka, DNA expert, still on the stand.
Hoose is asking her about her education and experience.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:38 
10:38
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
so the laundry basket also had defendents dna
Friday March 1, 2013 10:38 guest
10:39
10:38 a.m. Yes, according to the witness.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:39 
10:39
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
When is the ME SCHEDULED TO TAKE THE STAND
Friday March 1, 2013 10:39 guest
10:40
10:38 a.m. After this witness.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:40 
10:43
[Comment From JDJD: ] 
Fred, do you get a sense of why prosecution introduced evidence that that hairs in the victim's hands were her own? That seems to be more supporting of the defense. Was it a pre-emptive maneuver? Or did it appear to lend more credibility to the prosecution witness?
Friday March 1, 2013 10:43 JD
10:43
10:39 a.m. I can't answer this.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:43 
10:47
10:43 a.m. Hoose is asking Gryszowka if all DNA looks the same. On other words you can't tell if it came from a skin cell or blood cell. Yes, she says.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:47 
10:47
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Was Mark Oleksak a suspect? Why do they keep saying the blood is not his?
Friday March 1, 2013 10:47 Guest
10:47
10:46 a.m. Investigators had his DNA for comparison. No one has said why.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:47 
10:50
10:47 a.m. Hoose ntoes that all hairs and blood swipes from the crime scene belonged to Annamarie. He asks about the spatter stain that had a mixture of DNA, including Annamarie's. Cara's DNA was excluded from both his and the door latch mixture, he notes. Gryszowka agrees.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:50 
10:53
10:50 a.m. Hoose asks about samples taken from the shelving. Notes that three swabs were combined for analysis. When that's done, he says, you don't know if DNA was in one of those swabs or all threee. Yes, she says.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:53 
10:58
10:53 a.m. Hoose shows Gryszowka a photo of the gray rag, asks if she can see a stain. She says yes. This is the one that came from the McDonalds trash. Hoose suggestes that Cara's DNA on the rag could have come from wiping her hands on it. You can't tell when that DNA was deposited, right? Right, she says.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:58 
10:58
10:57 a.m. Rup recesses for 15 minutes.
Friday March 1, 2013 10:58 
11:17
11:15 a.m. Back from recess. Wiating for jury. In summary, according to Gryszowka's testimony, she found no trace of Cara Rintala's DNA in the basement where Annamarie's body was.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:17 
11:21
11:16 a,m, Hoose still on cross. Tina Gryszowka on stand.
Hoose: Would rain degrade a DNA sample?
Gryszowka: Yes, it could.
(It was raiing the day Cara and Brianna apparently went to McDonalds).
Hoose: there were two other rags in that trash. You didnt know which got on top and got rained on.
Gryszowka: No.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:21 
11:24
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Wasn't Cara found in the basement cradling the victim? Wouldn't her DNA presumably have to be somewhere at the scene?
Friday March 1, 2013 11:24 Guest
11:25
11:21 a.m. It wasnt on the hairs and blood samples they tested.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:25 
11:28
11:24 a.m. Gryszowka is giving a techincal explanation of DNA testing to the jury. Hoose is talking about the difference between a degraded sample and a diluted sample. He suggests that the stain on the rag is not likely to have come from fresh blood. Gryszowka cannot confirm this.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:28 
11:33
11:27 a.m. Hoose cites the necklace. Did you know that was Cara's necklace?
Yes,Gryszowka says.
Hoose: You'd expect to get DNA off that.
Yes.
Hoose: When you test the necklace you cant say of DNA came from skin cells or the red-brown stain.
Correct.
Hoose cites the laundry basket. DNA could have been on it for a long time.
Yes.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:33 
11:38
11:32 a.m. Hoose: on laundry basket, you cant say which of three swabs gave you a positive result?
Gryszowka: Correct.
Hoose: Asks about swab from vacuum. Gryszowka said DNA came from more than one source. Annamarie was one potential source. Cara is excluded. Minor profile inconclusive for Mark Oleksak, Gryszowka says.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:38 
11:42
11:38 a.ml. Gagne on re-direct.
Gryszowka says "inconclusive" says we can't either include or exclude, can't say one way or the other.
Gagne: What do you consider the crime scene to be?
Gryszowka: The entire residence.
Gagne: Blood from crime scene match Cara?
Gryszowka: One place, the shower curtain liner.
Gagne: Red brown stain suggests what?
Gryszowka: Blood.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:42 
11:47
11:42 a.m. Gagne: Asks about time-line of testing.
Tests results on July and Dec., 2010. Dec. 2012. Jan. 1, 2012, she says.
Gryszowka says there is a back-log at the lab that affects the time-table of testing. Gagne done. Hoose on re-cross.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:47 
11:50
11:46 a.m. Hoose shows Gryszowka the necklace. Suggests she can't tell if DNA came from Cara's skin or blood.
Hoose done. Witness excused. Sidebar.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:50 
11:56
11:55 a.m. Gagne calls Dr. Joann Richmond to the stand.
Friday March 1, 2013 11:56 
12:01
11:56 a.m. Dr. Richmond is retired, splits time between Mass. and Florida. She was a medical examiner in Mass. and a forensic pathologist.
Gagne is establishing her credentials regarding autopsies and determining manner of death.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:01 
12:02
12:01 P.M. Richmond is describing her various certifications.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:02 
12:06
12:02 p.m. She describes an autopsy, how they open the body, look at organs, remove specimens, look for injury or disease. Everything is photographed. She tells how they do a rape kit. Richmond herself has done about 5,000 autopsies in 30 years.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:06 
12:09
12:06 p.m. An autopsy can be done in 1-2 hours or take an entire day, Richmond says. She does as many as 4 in one day. Gagne is now focusing on Annamarie Rintala's autopsy. She concluded that the cause of death was strangulation. Richmond said she also had multiple blunt rauma injuries to the head that contributed to her death. The head trauma could have made her unconscious and helped someone to strangle her, she says.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:09 
12:13
12:09 p.m. Annamarie came to the autopsy room in a body bag. She was wearing blue pants. There was blood on the body. She was 5 foot, 5, weighed 205 pounds, according to Richmond.
Rup is telling the jury that Gagne is going to show autopsy photos. Some are quite graphic, she says. "You are not to let any emotional response affect any decisions you make about the case," Rup tells them.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:13 
12:17
12:12 p.m. Annamarie's father has left the courtroom.
Richmond defines stangulation: hands are used to compress the blood vessles to airway. Stops the blood from getting to the brain. It takes a minimum of four minutes to strangle someone to death, she says. You can strangle someone with a belt or rope, she says, or with your hands. Ligature leaves marks all the way around the neck, she says. Hands leave either a lot or a little visible injury to the neck.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:17 
12:19
12:16 p.m. Internally, strangulation can cause hemmorage in the neck muscles. Can fracture the adam's apple, Richmond says. We look for tiny cappilaries rupturing in the soft tissiue around the eye. Ther face can become dark or purplish in color.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:19 
12:24
12:19 p.m. Gagne starts to show autopsy photos. Left side of Annamarie's face. There's an abrasion on her forehead, chin where skin has been scraped off.
Right side of Annamarie's face. Another abrasion near chin.
Close-up of abrasion on forehead.
Gagne shows big bruise on top of Annamarie's head where her hair has been shaved for examination.
Gagne shows shaved part of Annamarie's head showing a laceration.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:24 
12:27
12:23 p.m. The laceration has two smaller ones trailing from it. Photo of Annnamarie on her stomach shows a ?-shaped laceration on the back of her head. In a close-up of the wound you can see al the way down to the skull. Richmond says she can't tell what object made the wounds.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:27 
12:33
12:27 p.m. Another photo of Annamarie's head shows a separate wound on the top right side. This also goes all the way to the skull.
Richmond points out a bruise on the right side of the forehead.
She says the hemmoraging under exterior injuries says that Annamaries' heart was still beating when she was struck.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:33 
12:37
12:32 p.m. Richmond said there were multiple bruises on legs, arms and back of Annamarie, 23 in all. Bruises appear to have been caused during the same tie frame, she says.
Gagne shows photo of Annamrie's legs. Richmond points out several bruises on the left leg below the knee. Annamarie has an elaborate tatoo "Brianna" on her left foot.
Close-up of back of her left arm with large bruise. Bruise on her right forearm.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:37 
12:42
12:37 p.m. Richmond concluded that strangulationwas the cause of death from her internal exam of neck muscles, hemmoraging near eyes. Gagne shows a close-up of Annamarie's right eye. You can see hemmorages of tiny blood vessels on eye-lid.
Close-up of nose shows abrasions on nose.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:42 
12:46
12:41 p.m. Gagne brings up the topic of rigor mortis. Richmond explains that the entire body becomes very stiff after death. The body can become so rigid you can suspend it between 2 objects. "It's just not going to bend."
It's a chemical reaction, she says. Heat can speed up the process. Cold can slow it. Body reaches full rigor mortis in 12-18 hours, Richmond says.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:46 
12:46
12:46 p.m.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:46 
12:51
12:46 p.m. Richmond says the body stays in full rigor mortis. Autopsy done on April 1, 2010. Gagne asks what if "liver" mortis. Richmond says your blood settles after death. If you're on your back the purplish discoloration will be on your back. If you're on your back 8-10 hours and put on your face, the lividity will stay on your back, she says.
Gagne asks about body temp.
Richmond says a body loses 1 1/2-2 degrees of heat per hour after death. Other factors can affect that. Cold and heat, e.g.
Usually you look for core or inside temperature. We use a large thermometer, put it in the liver or rectum.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:51 
12:52
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
How is Cara reacting to these photos
Friday March 1, 2013 12:52 Guest
12:53
12:51 p.m. I don't have a clear view of Cara. She did not appear to be looking at the autopsy photos.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:53 
12:55
12:53 p.m. After talking with investigators and understanding the condition of Annamarie's body when they found it, Richmond estimates that she was dead for 6-8 hours by the time police arrived.
Gagne done.
Recess for lunch. Hoose on cross at 2 p.m.
Friday March 1, 2013 12:55 
1:43
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Fred, thank you for your coverage of this intense event. your doing a very professional job
Friday March 1, 2013 1:43 Guest
1:47
From the newsroom:

As we near the end of the break, I'll chime in and say that this type of live coverage is very difficult and demanding -- and Fred is doing an admirable job.

I am very pleased that we have been able to offer coverage that truly takes advantage of Fred's vast experience reporting on the court system. A trial involves a very complicated and nuanced set of procedures, with a great deal of technical detail offered by the witnesses. It takes someone with a lot of experience to help translate what happens in the courtroom for the rest of us watching from afar.

Thanks to all who have been following.

- Greg Saulmon / The Republican
Friday March 1, 2013 1:47 
1:57
[Comment From boomstickboomstick: ] 
I'll second that, great job Fred. I'll go further and say this is one of the most interesting/innovative things you've done. Question: are you able to track how many people are following this both live and after the fact?
Friday March 1, 2013 1:57 boomstick
2:00
@boomstick -- Thank you.

The live coverage software we use does allow us to track how many readers there are at any given time. That number has hovered at a steady several-hundred throughout the trial, which is very good and has exceeded our expectations.

We can also see how many people click into the live coverage posts on MassLive over the course of a day, and these posts have consistently been some of the most-read items on the site.

- Greg Saulmon / The Republican
Friday March 1, 2013 2:00 
2:09
2:03 p.m. Back in court. Hoose asks Dr. Richmond is Annamarie's bruising is consistent with her falling down the stairs. Yes, she says. Could one of her head wounds be consistent with hitting her head on the stairs. Yes.
Hoose: Isn't it clear that Annamarie sustained more than one blow to her body?
Richmond: Injuries.
(Autopsy photos showed bruises all over the body and lacerations to the head).
Hoose asks about marks on the neck consistent with strangulation. Isn't the killer's skin often under the fingernails of the victim.
Richmond: Not necessarily.
(DNA under Annamarie's fingernails was her own and did not match Cara's).
Hoose notes that body found AT 7:15 p.m. Richmond's estimate of time of death: 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:09 
2:13
2:08 p.m. Hoose: You didnt discuss time of death in your autopsy report. Richmond wrote time of death "unknown" on hern autopsy report, he noted. He shows her her autopsy report. Sept. 2010.
Hoose: You knew time of death was of some concern, right?
Friday March 1, 2013 2:13 
2:13
2:13 p.m.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:13 
2:18
2:15 p.m. Hoose: Did you express an opinion when you met with prosecutor about time of death.
Richmond: Nothing specific.
Hoose: Did you say 6-8 hours before the body was found?
Richmond: I wouldnt say a specific hour.
Hoose: At some point you read the reports of first responders about the condition of the body?
Richmond: Last week
Hoose: Time of death and rigor moertis is something of an inexact science.
Richmond: Yes..
Friday March 1, 2013 2:18 
2:22
2:18 p.m. Hoose: Your opinion is only as good as the info you get because you never went to the scene.
Richmond: Right.
Hoose is saying the investigators at the scene were not training to determine the state of Annamarie's body. Richmond says she would trust EMTs and state police to know rigor mortis.
"I'm pretty sure they would be able to tell when a body is stiff."
Friday March 1, 2013 2:22 
2:26
2:22 p.m. Hoose continues to question the accuracy of the info on which Richmond estimated the time of death.
She says they knew the arms couldnt be bent. She wouldnt have done more investigation if she'd been on the scene.
Hoose cites factors like ambient temperature that could affect rigor mortis.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:26 
2:32
2:26 p.m. Hoose says there are other ways to assess time of death, such as lividity. Is there a proper way to assess this? Would you touch the body? There was greater lividity in the front. Does that mean the body was face down for a time?
Richmond: Yes.
Hoose: And then the body was moved.
Richmond: Yes.
Hoose: Body temperature. You didnt have enough info about body temp in this case?
Richmond: We dont use a thermometer in Mass. We go by touch.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:32 
2:35
2:31 p.m. Hoose: Did anyone use a thermometer on Annamarie.
Richmond: No. It's not something we do in Mass.
Hoose: You didnt go by gastric content (what Annamarie had eaten and when).
Richmond: No.
Hoose and Richmond are getting contentious. Gagne objects to the questioning. Rup overrules him.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:35 
2:37
2:35 p.m. Richmond says the responders on scene are qualified to know rigor mortis. Hoose says they are not trained death scene investigators. Did anyone tell you the victim used her cell phone at 12:20 p.m.?
Gagne objects. Sidebar.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:37 
2:42
2:39 p.m. Hoose: Did anyone tell you there was evidence of a phone call from Annamarie's phone at 12:20 p.m. Yes, Richmond says. No further questions from Hoose. Gagne on re-direct.
Gagne: You first formed your opinion about time of death in 2010. Did you change your opinion after reading the reports of first responders?
Richmond: No.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:42 
2:44
2:42 p.m. Rup says here are no more witnesses available today and excuses the jury. Trial will resume for full day on Monday.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:44 
2:46
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Do your know who the witnesses are for Monday?
Friday March 1, 2013 2:46 Guest
2:46
2:44 p.m. No. This sometimes changes at the last moment.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:46 
2:49
2:46 p.m. Now Gagne is saying police officers will probably testify on Monday.
Friday March 1, 2013 2:49 
3:18
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
are they still in the courtroom, or is everything finished for the day?
Friday March 1, 2013 3:18 Guest
3:19
From the newsroom:

I think Fred is en route back to Springfield to check in and write his daily summary, so I'm going to close down today's live coverage. We'll be back at it Monday morning.

- Greg Saulmon / The Republican
Friday March 1, 2013 3:19 
 
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