Granby homicide a suspected act of domestic violence

by Hannah Clay Wareham

Bay Windows

Thursday April 8, 2010

A female victim's wife may be charged with her strangling death.

The first homicide investigation in Granby, Massachusetts in the past thirty years may reveal a history of LGBT domestic violence.

37-year-old Annamarie Rintala was found dead in the basement of her Barton Street home on Monday evening, March 29. Cause of death was homicide by strangulation, according to Dr. Joann Richmond of the medical examiner's office. Significant head trauma may have contributed.

Due to a 2008 domestic assault and battery report against the victim's wife, Cara Rintala, representatives of victim advocacy organizations expect that she will soon be charged with murder.

"We likely think it's domestic violence-related based on what the District Attorney's office is saying, based on the fact that there's a previous history of domestic violence in the relationship," said Kaitlin Nichols, director of organizing and education at the Network/La Red, a Boston-based organization that combats LGBT partner abuse and domestic violence.

Cara Rintala was charged with domestic assault in October of 2008 after Annamarie Rintala told police that her wife had struck her in the back of the head with a closed fist. All charges in that case, however, were dismissed at the request of the victim.

"The previous assault one of those things that's an indicator. And it's strangulation, which indicates a high risk of lethality when someone's been strangled previously," Nichols said. "It's one of those things we often see in domestic violence-related homicides, unfortunately."

"While the investigation is open and ongoing, at this point, we do not have evidence to suggest a random incident," Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel told the Boston Globe. "I'm not going to comment on any of the specifics surrounding her death at this point."

Annamarie Rintala (nťe Cochrane) and Cara Rintala were married in Northampton in 2007. Annamarie Rintala was employed as an emergency medical technician for American Medical Response of Western Massachusetts. Cara Rintala has worked for the Ludlow Fire Department as a firefighter and paramedic for the past ten years.

Police arrived at the couple's Barton St. home after Cara Rintala arrived at a neighbor's house with the couple's three-year-old daughter Brianna Lee Rintala and asked the neighbor to call the authorities.

"She just came over and gave us the baby and the dog and said, 'Call 911,'" Barbara DuPuis, neighbor to the Rintalas, told the Boston Globe. The Rintala daughter is currently staying with relatives.

DuPuis added that she doesn't believe Cara Rintala had anything to do with her wife's death. "I can't imagine her having anything at all to do with that."

The Northwestern District Attorney's office did not return calls for comment in time for publication. No suspects have yet been named.

A funeral service for Annamarie Rintala will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 11, at the First Congregational Church at One Church St. in South Hadley.

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