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Mistrial declared in Granby strangulation trial

February 4, 2014

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — The second murder trial of a Granby woman charged with strangling her paramedic wife nearly four years ago ended Tuesday the same way as the first — with a hung jury and a judge declaring a mistrial.

Judge Mary Lou Rup said she recognized that the Hampshire Superior Court jury had “worked very hard” deliberating the case against Cara Rintala before declaring the mistrial. The jurors told the judge they were deadlocked after more than four days of deliberations and a three-week trial.

Rintala, 47, was charged with killing Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, 37, in March 2010. The body was found in the basement of the couple’s home and an autopsy determined she had been strangled. The couple had been married about two years.

The couple had what prosecutors described as a “tumultuous” relationship, had discussed divorce and often disagreed about finances and the fate of their young daughter.

David Hoose, Cara Rintala’s attorney, had countered that the couple had patched things up before the death and said there was little evidence pointing to his client in the case. He also added that police failed to investigate the possibility of other suspects.

Hoose said Tuesday that his client was disappointed by the verdict and questioned how only four people were stumped by the lack of evidence.

Prosecutor Steven Gagne said he was not pleased by the mistrial, and that a decision on whether to try Rintala a third time had not been made.

Hoose questioned whether it made sense to spend any more time and money to put the same evidence in front of a third jury.

“Both sides desire a resolution in this matter, they deserve a verdict,” Gagne said.

The decision on whether to try the case again depends on the wishes of the victim’s family, he said.

“This process has taken an enormous toll on them, but they appear to be in this for the long haul,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cara Rintala will continue to be held without bail. Hoose said if retried he will focus on getting Rintala released on bail.

“Cara is anxious to go home and have a normal relationship with her daughter after being in custody for two-and-a-half years,” Hoose said. “It is not appropriate that she be held any longer,” he said.

A mistrial was declared last March after the first trial, when the jury was deadlocked after four days of deliberations.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys scheduled to meet with the judge next Tuesday to discuss where the case goes from here.

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