Prosecution and defense attorneys summed up their respective cases in the trial of Cara Rintala today in Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton, Massachusetts. Rintala is accused of murdering her wife Annamarie Rintala in March 2010. The case is noted for being the first murder trial between a married same sex couple in the state.
Prosecuting attorney Stephen Gagne rested his case yesterday after two weeks of calling witnesses and showing evidence to the jury. Defense attorney David Hoose called his final witness today, then began his closing argument. Hoose argues the state police who investigated the murder presumed Rintala was guilty from the start. He says the police lieutenant who interviewed Rintala after her wife was killed began the interview by asking about the couple’s history of domestic violence.
“Is that the way you address someone who has just had their wife murdered? Or is that the way you address someone that you’ve already decided is the person responsible?”
Hoose argues that the prosecution’s evidence is too circumstantial to convict Rintala “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Gagne’s closing argument focused on the couple’s history which included multiple divorce filings and restraining orders. He alleges that Rintala attempted to cover-up the murder. He says police had to investigate a contaminated crime scene.
“And it’s true that they were dealt a hand of cards. But the fact of the matter is, Cara Lee Rintala had shuffled the deck because she had a 3-4 hour head start before any police officer arrived on scene.”
Judge Mary Lou Rup instructed jury members on case law before sending them to begin deliberations. It’s unclear when the jury will return its verdict.