Skip to main content

After Being Tried Three Times in First Reported Spousal Murder Case Involving Lesbian Couple, Woman Makes Bail Ahead of Fourth Trial


Cara Rintala appears in court in 2016

The first known lesbian spousal murder defendant in the United States was recently released from prison for the first time in years.

Cara Rintala has repeatedly been tried for the murder of her then-wife, 37-year-old Annamarie Cochrane-Rintala, who was found at the bottom of a basement staircase, surrounded by blood, on March 29, 2010. The defendant, meanwhile, was found covered in white paint.

Each time Rintala has been tried, something or other has intervened in her favor–though she remained imprisoned at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution–Framingham, a women’s state prison, for over five years since she was arrested and charged with the murder.

The first two times, Rintala’s trials ended with hung juries as mistrials were declared. The next time, the state made their case and convinced the jury to convict. But, ultimately, the third time was not the charm for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. In late September, the Bay State’s highest court tossed her conviction because the prosecution used an expert witness who was later determined to be anything but an expert on paint and was, rather, simply a “a quality engineer at the company that manufactured the paint found at the crime scene.”

That background, however, did not amount to enough credentials viz. paint and drying qualities. According to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the “admission of expert testimony as to the timing and manner of application of paint in the basement was error.”

Still, despite those numerous missteps by prosecutors, Rintala was kept behind bars. Until today–Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.

Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard Carey set bail the defendant’s bail at $50,000 and ordered her to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, according to a press release from the DA’s office obtained by local NBC/CW affiliate WWLP.

Additionally, Rintala will be allowed to live in Narragansett, Rhode Island with her family as she awaits her fourth murder trial.

The DA’s office previously signaled their willingness to accept bail in the high-profile case so long as the bail amount was large.

“The procedural history of this case demonstrates that a significant cash bail and strict release conditions will likely ensure the defendant’s appearance at future court dates,” First Assistant ADA Steven Gagne argued in a bail motion obtained by WWLP. “The Commonwealth therefore agrees that it would be appropriate for the Court to admit the defendant to bail – albeit a significant one – that is commensurate with the crime charged and the potential penalty the defendant faces if convicted.”

After the hearing, that bail amount was met by Rintala.

The defendant must also observe a curfew that will keep her home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., must not apply for a passport, must sign an extradition waiver, and must report to the Hampshire Superior Court Probation Department on a weekly basis.

The commonwealth is intent on seeing Rintala convicted for the death of Cochrane-Rintala.

“We don’t walk away from a murder case just because it is difficult to try,” ADA Gagne added.

[image via screengrab/WWLP]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: