More than a year after her wife was found dead in their basement, 45-year-old Cara Rintala was taken into custody on Wednesday by police in Narragansett, Rhode island. She had been living there for approximately a year. Rintala waved extradition and was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Hampshire Superior Court, where she pled not guilty to one count of first-degree murder.
"Cara adamantly denies any involvement in her spouse's death. You know it's been difficult for her, being publicly under suspicion for the past 18 months."
David Hoose of Northampton is Cara Rintala's defense attorney. He says he and his client are aware that she has been a suspect from the beginning, but he believes she is not a threat to the public and should be eligible for bail.
Rintala was held without bail over the weekend.
On March 29th, 2010, a 9-11 call brought first responders to the Rintala home where they discovered Annamarie Cochrane Rintala’s body in the basement, with obvious signs of trauma, according to the Northwestern District Attorney's Office. The case was called a homicide. Annamarie Cochrane Rintala was 37 at the time of her death. She was a paramedic who grew up in Springfield. The case has attracted a great deal of attention and domestic violence groups are speaking out. Beth Leventhal is executive director of Boston’s the Network/LaRed, which offers support services for abused gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.
"Partner abuse statistically cuts across class and race and all other demographics. It cuts across sexual orientation and gender identity as well."
The Rintala case appears to be the first alleged murder case between a same-sex married couple in Massachusetts. For New England Public Radio, I'm Anne Mostue.