Briton pleads not guilty in family deaths

/ Source: The Associated Press

Neil Entwistle pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges and was jailed without bail in the killings of his wife and baby daughter, who were found shot to death in bed at the couple’s suburban Boston home.

The crush of media slowed traffic outside the Framingham District Court building. One passing motorist yelled out: “Burn that baby killer.”

Entwistle, 27, kept his head bowed as officers led him into the building wearing shackles and a bulletproof vest. He was ordered held without bail pending a hearing March 15.

He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, Rachel, 27, and their 9-month-old daughter Lillian, killed in their home in Hopkinton on Jan. 20. Entwistle flew to his native England a day after the shootings, was arrested there last week, and was flown back to the United States on Wednesday.

Fair trial?
His attorney, Elliot Weinstein, lashed out at news coverage of the case after the hearing.

“I don’t know that Mr. Entwistle will ever be able to get a fair trial on these charges,” Weinstein said. “I am certain that anybody watching this telecast or reading the reporting of today’s arraignment has already formed an opinion with respect to Mr. Entwistle’s guilt... And that opinion is based on absolutely no facts and absolutely no evidence, and that is quite unfortunate.”

More than a dozen of Rachel Entwistle’s relatives and friends filled the first three rows of the courtroom. The women carried bouquets of lilies and roses tied with long white ribbons. Rachel Entwistle’s mother, Priscilla Matterazzo, never took her eyes off her son-in-law.

“To think that someone we loved, trusted and opened our home to could do this to our daughter and granddaughter is beyond belief,” Matterazzo and her husband said in a statement. “Neil betrayed our trust in so many different ways that it is almost impossible to describe.”

In court documents, law officers have describe Entwistle as a secretive man who was sinking into debt. The documents say that in the days before the killings, he trolled the Internet looking for sexual partners and information on ways to kill people and commit suicide.

Wife called police
Search warrant affidavits filed by law enforcement officials in the U.S. describe how Rachel Entwistle’s relatives called police after the couple organized a dinner party but did not answer their door when guests arrived.

Officers discovered the bodies on Jan. 22, and found Entwistle’s white BMW sport utility vehicle parked at Logan International Airport, in Boston.

Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said authorities believe Entwistle used his father-in-law’s .22-caliber handgun in the shootings, and may have planned to turn the weapon on himself because of his mounting debts.

Instead of committing suicide, he drove the gun back to his father-in-law’s house, then fled to his native England, authorities allege.

Entwistle met Rachel Souza, a Holy Cross student from Kingston, in 1999 at Britain’s University of York, in northern England, where she was spending the year abroad.

The couple married in 2003 and lived in England. In April 2005, Lillian was born. The couple moved to Carver in southeastern Massachusetts last summer and lived with Rachel’s relatives.

Last month, the family moved into a Colonial-style home they rented in Hopkinton.

Ten days later, the mother and daughter were found dead.