The accused killer is ordered held without bail in Massachusetts

By Stephen M. Silverman
February 16, 2006 08:00 AM

Neil Entwistle pleaded not guilty to the shooting deaths of his wife and baby daughter and was ordered held without bail on Thursday.

Wearing shackles and a bulletproof vest, Entwistle, 27, kept his head bowed as officers led him into the Framingham, Mass., District Court building.

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. A day after the shootings, Entwistle flew home to his parents in his native England, where he was arrested last week. On Tuesday he was sent back to the U.S.

Rachel Entwistle’s parents and grandparents attended Thursday’s hearing, the Associated Press reports. The women carried roses and lilies and were accompanied by prosecutor Michael Fabbri and family spokesman Joseph Flaherty.

In court papers, authorities describe Entwistle as a secretive man who needed to dig out from a mountain of debt. The documents say that in the days before the killings, he made Internet searches for sexual partners and information on means to kill people and commit suicide.

A defense attorney, Elliot M. Weinstein, was appointed Wednesday to represent Entwistle. Weinstein told AP he was concerned that the case had generated such media interest internationally that it would be difficult for Entwistle to receive a fair trial.

The attorney reiterated the contention outside the courtroom Thursday. “That’s what upsets me,” he said, “the volume, the content, the nature, the tone of the publicity that’s been generated to date.”

Entwistle met his future wife in 1999 when both were studying at the University of York in northern England. They married in 2003 and moved to Massachusetts last summer, a few months after their daughter was born.