Judge denies Rintala’s motion to reduce prison sentence

Cara Rintala is shown during her fourth murder trial in Hampshire Superior Court in September 2023.

Cara Rintala is shown during her fourth murder trial in Hampshire Superior Court in September 2023. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

By JAMES PENTLAND

Staff Writer

Published: 06-14-2024 11:59 AM

Modified: 06-14-2024 12:31 PM


NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire Superior Court judge has denied convicted killer Cara Rintala’s motion to reduce the 12-to-14-year prison sentence she’s serving after being convicted last year of manslaughter in the killing of her wife in 2010.

Rintala petitioned the court to reduce her sentence to eight to 12 years, citing her role as primary caretaker for her daughter, her life of service, her lack of a prior criminal record and her positive behavior while in prison and on probation.

Judge Francis Flannery, who presided over Rintala’s fourth trial in September and October, wrote in his order Thursday that the factors she highlighted in her motion were all “extensively argued ... and carefully weighed” prior to sentencing.

Flannery wrote that the court “specifically acknowledged the ‘collateral damage’ this case has inflicted upon the defendant’s daughter and noted it was the defendant’s actions that deprived her daughter of both of her parents, as well as the opportunity to form a lasting memory of her mother Ann.”

Rintala has also appealed her conviction and petitioned for sentence review from the state’s Appellate Court. Those motions are under review in Suffolk Superior Court.

A Hampshire County jury found Rintala, 57, guilty of strangling and beating her wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, to death in their Granby home in March 2010.

Under her current sentence, she will have 4½ to 6½ years to serve, having already spent 7½ years incarcerated since she was first indicted on a charge of murder in 2011.

Her first two trials ended in hung juries, and she was convicted of first-degree murder at her third trial in 2016. She spent several years in prison before the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the verdict, citing concerns about the credentials of the prosecution’s paint expert, and sent the case back to Superior Court for a new trial.

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