Neil Entwistle

I finished researching this case asking myself a few questions. I did not ask myself if I thought Neil Entwistle was guilty of killing his wife and infant daughter; I did not ask myself if the evidence against him presented in trial was sufficient to convict him.  I asked myself if Neil Entwistle was my son what it would take for me believe in his guilt.  It has been over ten years since Neil Entwistle was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and his parents are still proclaiming his innocence.  This is even as his story has even changed over the years as to where he was when his wife and child died.

On the night of January 19, 2006 it is known that Rachel Entwistle was alive because friends and family spoke to her.  By the 21st it appears that people were worried about her but I have to be honest in saying that I am unsure completely why.  I do not know if she missed an appointment with someone or she had mentioned something to someone about being scared or even depressed.  At any rate it appears that a friend had not been able to reach her for a few days and was apparently worried enough to call the police and ask for a welfare check to be done at her home in Hopkinton Massachusetts.  It also appears that the police actually entered the Entwistle home and looked around but seemingly found nothing.  By the following day still no one had heard from Rachel and the police were called again.  This time they did a more thorough search and under a pile of bedding on top of the bed in the master bedroom officers would find the body of twenty-seven year old Rachel and her nine month old daughter, Lillian. But, they would not find Rachel's husband, Neil.

It did not take long to discover Neil's vehicle in the parking lot of the local airport.  It was learned that he had boarded a flight on the 21st, with a one-way ticket, headed to England, his home country, and to his parents' home. Officers would get a hold of him there through the phone to notify him of the deaths of his wife and child the day after the discovery.  They need not bother though, Neil already knew and he told them so on the phone.  He claimed that on the morning of January 20th he had left the home that the couple had moved into just ten days prior at around 9:00 and when he returned home two hours later he found the bodies of his family. He claimed that he had obviously been startled to find them and his first thoughts were of committing suicide.  He said he ran down the stairs to obtain a knife but could not bring himself to do it, so instead he went upstairs, covered his wife and child with blankets and got in his car and headed to his in-laws home.  He had decided that a gun that they owned would do the trick for him. According to Neil he then went to his in-laws home but when he got there the doors were lock so in his infinite wisdom he decided to fly to England to his family.

Aside from the fact a man just admitted that he knew his family was dead and not only did he call 9-1-1 but he had almost immediately left the country, there were a few other things about his story that did not make sense.  Neil's vehicle, that had been left at the airport was searched.  Inside they found keys that belonged to his in-laws home.  So even if his story was true that he went to their house after finding his family dead and found the doors locked, he had keys to get in.  This obviously made investigators suspicious.

The medical examiner determined that both Rachel and Lillian had been shot with a .22.  It had been obvious with Lillian, as she had been shot in the torso.  In fact, her gunshot wound had pierced her mother's breast indicating she was in her mother's arms when she was shot.  Rachel's wound had not been so easily identified until her body was examined.  They found she had been shot in the head.

Obviously Rachel's family, her mother and stepfather, Priscilla and John Matterazzo, were notified and questioned at least as far as any information they may have had.  The investigation uncovered that the Matterazzo's owned a .22 caliber weapon.  It was taken in as evidence and examined.  The handle contained Neil's DNA and the muzzle contained blood DNA matching to Rachel.  Neil would claim at some point that he had handled the weapon but months before.  He obviously could not, or would not, explain Rachel's blood DNA being present.

Rachel Souza and Neil Entwistle had met in college while Rachel was studying in England. They were married in April of 2003.  Lillian had been born in April of 2005 while they were still in England.  According to Neil's mother she was taken by surprised when the couple announced they were moving to the United States a few months later.  In July of 2005 they were in Massachusetts living with her parents.  They had moved into the house in Hopkinton just ten days prior.  From the outside people had no trouble believing the couple would have difficulty paying the $2,400 a month rent.  Neil was working in computers and seemed to be doing well.  He was also claiming to be receiving $10,000 a month from an "offshore account" from a previous employer.  Apparently everyone seemed to take Neil for his word and did not question anything.

Investigators would soon learn that this so called offshore account did not exist.  They would also learn that the couple had $30,000 in credit card debt with eighteen different cards.  The website E-Bay was also beginning an investigation into Neil after several complaints of fraudulent transactions.  He was "selling" computer parts through the website but people would pay and never receive the product.  

As if Neil Entwistle had not given investigators enough evidence between his words, his actions and even the gun at his in-laws, he had left his laptop computer in his vehicle in the airport parking lot.  It of course was searched by investigators.  It was learned that in the days before his family died Neil had searched "How to kill people" and other variations as well had been looking into escort service websites.  He had signed up at a "swinger" website saying he was looking for a discrete relationship.

Rachel and Lillian were buried in a single casket together and her parents had her maiden name of Souza placed on their gravestone.  It was already clearly obvious who was responsible for their deaths.  

Neil Entwistle was arrested in London on February 9, 2006. He initially declined to be extradited but then agreed and was brought back to the United States on February 15th. He was indicted on March 28th on two counts of murder, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.  He pleaded not guilty.

In December of that year, while awaiting trial the prison found some letters indicating that he was suicidal and he went to a mental hospital for an evaluation.  It is here that he was apparently or possibly diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high functioning Autism, but to be fair I'm not sure as to the accuracy of this report.

Neil Entwistle went on trial in June of 2008 in Woburn Massachussetts.  His defense attorney's attempted to get DNA and many other pieces of evidence suppressed stating there was not a warrant, or at the least the warrant was not complete.  They failed in that effort.  The prosecution presented all of their evidence and when they were done the defense called no one. They had, through the prosecution witnesses and their statements attempted to elicit that Neil had not committed the murders, but that Rachel had killed Lillian and herself.  He was found guilty on all counts on June 25, 2008 and when the judge sentenced him to life he made it clear it was for his "whole" life and that only a successful appeal or a governor's pardon would ever allow him to see freedom again.  

A few months later it was said that he was "tricked" into shaving his head in an attempt to secure protection from a white supremacist gang but then they threatened to kill him. He was transferred from the prison and moved to another with the prison authorities stating this was a very serious threat against his life.

In August of 2012 Neil's appeal was rejected and barring new evidence he has exhausted all of his appeals.

Throughout all of this Neil's parents had firmly stood by their son proclaiming his innocence and they apparently still do to this day.  In October of 2008 they filed a harassment suit against their local paper in England but the suit was dismissed.  They maintain the story that the defense presented in trial, that Rachel killed Lillian and then herself, stating she suffered from postpartum depression.  

Despite this being the story told at trial, although I am unsure exactly how they indicated it happened, they apparently did not tell the story Neil eventually would tell.  In 2016, ten years after the murders it would be revealed through a woman who had struck up a pen pal relationship with Neil that he was now claiming to have been present in the home when his wife and daughter died.  He told the pen pal (and copies of the letter can be found online), and his parents have now told the same story, that he was downstairs in the kitchen when he heard a sound upstairs.  He had gone up there and Rachel had already shot Lillian and that while he was standing there he witnessed her shooting herself.  This of course is an entirely new story.  His parents claim his actions after (although they seemingly forget to figure in how the gun got back to Rachel's parents' home) were only in attempts to prevent Rachel the shame (after death) that she had killed her daughter.  Yeah, I am not buying it either.  They maintain to this day that this will eventually be proven and their son will be freed from prison.  They also claim that forensic testing, not allowed to be mentioned in trial, showed that Rachel had gunshot residue on both sides of her hands and that trajectory tests were not done to determine just how those shots were fired.  They also continue to blame the media for convicting their son.  

I feel bad for his parents because they obviously firmly believe in his innocence but I also believe they live in an alternate reality.  After researching this case I asked myself just what it would take for me to believe that my child had done such a horrendous act.  I could not necessarily put myself in the place of Neil's parents because in this case I think there is an abundance of evidence in proving his guilt.  But, even if I were to try and take his story, or even stories as they were and ignore his actions I still come back to the fact that the bullet that murdered his infant daughter pierced Rachel.  This means she was holding that baby when she was shot and that makes no sense if she did it herself.  Even if she did plan a murder/suicide it is unlikely that she would have shot the baby while holding her.  In all the stories I have heard as to what Neil says happened he never mentions moving either body and indicates that they were both on the bed.  But, we cannot ignore his actions after, including returning the gun to his in-laws' home.  Again, I feel sorry for his parents but I cannot understand their lack of reality in this case.

Comments

  1. There are a lot of I'm not sures, for it to be worth considered accurate

    ReplyDelete

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