NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - It's the first alleged murder between a same-sex married couple in Massachusetts.
Annamarie Rintala was found dead in the basement of her Granby home in March of 2010. For more than a year, her family has struggled with no answers, no justice. But Thursday, state prosecutors said they're confident they've found her killer.
After 18 months of thorough investigation, the Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan says he knows who killed Annamarie Rintala, her wife, Cara Rintala.
A grand jury heard sixteen hours of evidence over two days before returning an indictment against Rintala on Wednesday afternoon; hours later, she was arrested in Narragansett, Rhode Island, where she's been living since her wife's death.
She returned to Massachusetts Thursday to face a first-degree murder charge. "Without a doubt there was only one course that our office would take. That Cara Rintala is responsible for the death of her partner Annamarie," stated Sullivan.
Annamarie's family members wept silently as Rintala was led out of the courtroom into state custody after pleading not guilty.
The victim's uncle Pasquale Martin told 22News they hoped this day would come, but nothing will ever erase the pain of their loss. "Now that it's here it's bittersweet. We're happy, but how can you put happiness on one life facing the rest of her life in prison and my niece being murdered by somebody?"
The Rintalas had an adopted daughter together named Brianna. Assistant DA Steve Gagne said Brianna was with Cara Rintala when she was arrested, but does not know in whose custody the child is staying now.
Rintala will return to court on Monday afternoon for a bail hearing.