Saturday, 2:15 PM
Courtroom gasps at child's bloody pajamas in Entwistle trial
By Franci R. Ellement, Globe Correspondent, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
WOBURN -- A gasp rippled across the courtroom this morning as a prosecution witness held up the white and pink button-down pajamas that had been stained brown with dried blood. A 1/4-inch hole rimmed with black gunpowder could be seen in the left upper chest.
There was a similar hole in the white onesie that 9-month-old Lillian Rose had been wearing underneath her pajamas. Forensic scientist Deanna Dygan held up the onesie for the Middlesex Superior Court jury, and it looked as if it had been dipped in blood, with almost the entire back stained a deep brown.
"I concluded that it was a contact shot," said Dygan, who works for the State Police Crime Lab. "A contact shot is a shot from the firearm when the firearm is pressed directly against the target."
Yvonne Entwistle sobbed at the sight of her granddaughter's pajamas, burying her head in her husband's chest, who gently told her to "shhh." Their son -- defendant Neil Entwistle -- wiped tears from his eyes with a tissue. The Matterazzo family and others there on behalf of the victims were visibly uncomfortable and looked down.
The gruesome evidence and matter-of-fact testimony came this morning in the trial of Entwistle, the man accused of killing his wife, Rachel, 27, and infant daughter in January 2006 and fleeing to his native England. Dygan also testified today that sperm was found on Rachel Entwistle's underwear and body, an indication that she had sex some time before she was killed. Dygan did not say how recently she may have had intercourse or with whom.
Judge Diane Kottmyer has not yet ruled whether the prosecution will be allowed to present evidence that they say shows Neil Entwistle was sexually dissatisfied with his marriage. A forensic analysis of Entwistle's computer found that he spent time on a pornographic website and appeared to be looking for local escorts, according to documents filed in court. When he was arrested in England, Entwistle was carrying a page torn from a local tabloid containing hundreds of ads for "escorts and sexual services" and a note indicating he was trying to make contact with a former girlfriend, according to the documents.
The prosecution maintains Rachel Entwistle was shot in the head and Lilly once in the chest sometime between 9 and 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2006. Dygan held up the pajamas Rachel was wearing when she was killed, including a lime-green shirt that was marred by brown stains. The bodies of mother and daughter were discovered tucked beneath a fluffy white comforter in the master bedroom of the home the family had just rented in Hopkinton.
On Friday, Dygan testified that the killer may have been only 18 inches from Rachel and Lillian Entwistle when pulling the trigger. The metal residue from the shot "usually doesn't travel more than 18 inches from the end of the muzzle to whatever it's deposited on," Dygan said.
Dygan said she had performed gun residue analysis on several items, including the pillow case that the two were laying on. One test confirmed the presence of vaporous lead; it was conducted after she noticed traces just above a large reddish-brown stain on the pillow, she said.
The presence of the chemical, she said in court, told her it is likely that the shooter was in close proximity when the fatal shots were fired.
Investigators have also said that Rachel Entwistle's DNA was found around the barrel and inside the .22-caliber Colt pistol, the weapon prosecutors allege her husband, Neil, stole from his father-in-law's collection of licensed weapons and returned before he noticed it missing.
Dygan's fellow forensic chemist, John Soares, said Rachel Entwistle was found curled up and on her left side, her right arm draped over Lilly with her index finger pointed and the other fingers in a clutching position. Lilly was found on her back.
Neil Entwistle, now 29, told police he had discovered the bodies but had no idea who may have committed the crime. He did not call for help. He left their home and flew to his native England.
Police arrested him at a train station in February, and he was returned to the United States to face two counts of first-degree murder.
Earlier in the trial, defense attorney Elliot Weinstein asked Soares why he did not process the master bedroom of the house for "occult blood," blood that is not immediately apparent to the naked eye, but did scour the BMW X3 that Entwistle had left in a Logan International Airport parking garage.
"You weren't as thorough and complete as you might have been," Weinstein told Soares, who objected to the statement.
"You made a conscious decision to not search for occult blood" in the bathroom, Weinstein said. "If it had been there, you could have found it ... and perhaps matched that to a person. But you didn't do it."
And despite Soares's repeated testing for occult blood in the BMW, Weinstein said, no blood was found.
"That's correct," Soares said.
This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.