NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A woman who was found guilty of strangling her wife to death and sentenced to life in prison in 2016 has been denied a motion for a new trial.
Northwestern District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Mary Carey told 22News a superior court judge denied Cara Rintala’s motion in a written decision on December 13.
In her motion for a new trial, Rintala argues that her defense attorney, David Hoose of Northampton, failed to provide proper defense during her trial because he did not call an expert witness to testify on the reliability of a paint analysis performed by the state’s expert witness, David Guilianelli.
“The defendant’s argument that trial counsel was ineffective because he did not call an expert to rebut Mr. Guilianelli’s testimony at trial is unpersuasive,” Superior Court Associate Justice Jane Mulqueen, wrote in her Dec. 13 decision.
Guilianelli, a paint quality engineer, testified that the paint found on Rintala’s wife, Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, had been poured not long before police arrived in an effort to alter the crime scene.
On October 7, 2016, Rintala was convicted of first-degree murder in Annamarie’s death. She was found strangled and beaten to death inside their home in Granby on March 29, 2010. It was the third time Rintala’s case had been tried, the two previous trials ended in mistrials because of deadlocked juries.
Mulqueen added, “Attempting to discredit the Commonwealth’s expert by means of thorough cross-examination in lieu of calling a competing expert witness was not manifestly unreasonable in the circumstance. The decision to call, or not to call, an expert witness fits squarely within the realm of strategic tactical decisions.”
The DA’s Office said Rintala can now appeal the denial of her motion for a new trial, along with her underlying conviction to the Supreme Judicial Court.