Thursday, 4:30 PM
Entwistle lawyers argue for his release to UK
By Megan Tench, Globe Staff, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Lawyers for Neil Entwistle argued in court this afternoon that their client should be released from jail so he can return to his native England until he goes on trial next year for the slaying of his wife and infant daughter.
Prosecutors for the Middlesex County district attorney's office dismissed the claims made by the defense, saying that the fact that Entwistle flew to England after the killing of his wife and daughter proved he was a flight risk.
Judge Peter M. Lauriat took the motion under advisement and could issue a ruling at any time.
Entwistle has been held in Middlesex County Jail since Feb. 15, when he was extradited after his arrest in London. He is being held on charges of murdering his wife, Rachel, 27, and their 9-month-old baby daughter, Lillian, on Jan. 20. He flew to England near the time of their death.
Defense lawyers maintained that Entwistle was not a flight risk and would be outfitted with an electronic monitoring device while he was confined to his parents' home in Worksop, England. As surety, the Entwistle family home would be placed in escrow and could be seized if he did not return for his trial, the lawyers said.
Prosecutors rejected the claim that he was not a flight risk. They allege that after the slayings Entwistle stockpiled cash from ATM machines and spent the night in his sports utility vehicle at Logan International Airport so he could catch a plane out of the country.
Entwistle appeared in Middlesex Superior Court in a dark gray suit and said little during the proceeding. When the start of his trial was pushed back to Oct. 1 from April 27, the judge asked Entwistle if that was a problem.
"Not at all," he said.
Defense lawyers filed a motion last week that outlined several conditions for Entwistle's release, which included him wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet and checking in daily by phone with British or American law enforcement authorities.
The lawyers said that although their client left the country immediately after the killings, he spoke with the Massachusetts State Police almost daily by phone from his parents' house and did not challenge extradition upon his arrest. In addition, the lawyers argued, he had an "unblemished personal history and background."