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Briton pleads not guilty to Mass. double murder

Neil Entwistle, through his attorney, pleads not guilty to killing his wife and 9-month-old daughter.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A British man accused of killing his wife and 9-month-old daughter pleaded not guilty to murder charges Tuesday.

Neil Entwistle, 27, is charged with two counts of murder and firearms charges in the Jan. 20 slayings of his wife, Rachel, 27, and their baby daughter, Lillian Rose.

Entwistle has been held without bail since he was originally arraigned on Feb. 16.

He stood silent and somber as a court clerk started to read the murder charges. His lawyer then told the judge they would waive the reading of the weapons charges and asked him to enter a not guilty plea on Entwistle's behalf to all counts.

Father-in-law's gun?
Prosecutors allege that Entwistle shot his wife and daughter in their rented home in Hopkinton on Jan. 20 after becoming despondent over rising debts.

Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley has said Entwistle may have planned to kill himself after shooting his wife and daughter. In search warrant affidavits, investigators said Entwistle did online research about ways to kill people and commit suicide.Entwistle flew to his parents' home in England the day after the killings. The bodies of his wife and daughter were found lying together in bed, under a thick comforter.

Prosecutors say Entwistle used his father-in-law's .22-caliber handgun, then drove 50 miles to the parents' home in Carver to return the weapon.

Entwistle allegedly told a state police detective that he returned home from doing errands to find his wife and daughter dead. He said he thought about killing himself after discovering their bodies, but could not go through with it, according to affidavits filed by investigators.

The case has sparked a torrent of media coverage here and in Britain, where Neil Entwistle grew up.

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. Their daughter was born in April 2005.

The couple moved to Carver in southeastern Massachusetts last summer and lived with Rachel's relatives until January, when they moved into a Colonial-style home they rented in Hopkinton for $2,700 a month. Ten days later, Rachel and Lillian Entwistle were found dead.