Saturday, 2:15 PM
Defense calls no witnesses in Entwistle case
By Franci R. Ellement, Globe Correspondent, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
WOBURN -- Attorneys for Neil Entwistle will not call any witnesses to testify in their client's defense, opting instead to rest their case this morning after prosecutors presented their final piece of evidence.
The decision not to call any witnesses means that the British man will not take the stand to defend himself against charges that he murdered his wife and infant daughter in their Hopkinton home in 2006. Lawyers are preparing to give their closing arguments today to the jury in Middlesex Superior Court.
The prosecution concluded its case by playing a second audiotape of a phone conversation that Entwistle had from England with Massachusetts State Police shortly after the killings. It came on the 12th day of testimony in a case that has heard testimony from nearly 50 witnesses.
Speaking from his parents' home north of London, Entwistle talked to Sergeant Robert Manning, who told him that the medical examiner determined that Rachel, 27, and 9-month-old Lillian Rose had been shot to death. In the 45-minute conversation on Jan. 24, 2006, the state trooper seemed to be trying to poke holes in the story that Entwistle had told him in a two-hour phone call the day before.
Entwistle walked the sergeant back through how he said he had discovered the bodies the morning of Jan. 20, 2006, after running errands for two hours. Entwistle did not ask whether police had made any arrests or had any suspects, but he did inquire about whether his wife and daughter suffered.
"Are you able to know how quickly they died?'' Entwistle asked.
Manning responded: "I don't think they suffered much. … I can tell you that it was probably quick."
"It's a shock and a relief to hear it," Entwistle said at the end of the conversation. "You don't want to know what happened, you don't want to believe what happened, but once you know what happened you can try to deal with that."
Entwistle added that the knowledge that they had indeed been shot to death gave him "peace of mind."
Although Entwistle will not take the stand to testify, jurors heard his voice for two hours on Friday when the prosecution played an audio recording of a rambling, two-hour phone interview that he had with police on Jan. 23, 2006. Manning never asked Entwistle directly whether he committed the crime, but told him he had to "rule out all of the possibilities." The investigator asked suggestive questions about whether "something bad had happened at the house."
"No. No. I couldn't do that," Entwistle said. "Why would I do that?"
"I'm not saying you did it," said Manning, the prosecution's final witness in the case. "I'm asking you if a situation took place that was out of character between you and your wife."
"No," Entwistle said, speaking from his parents' home, where he had flown the day after the killings. "It is just a normal, it is just a normal day."
What Entwistle went on to describe was anything but normal. He told Manning that on the morning of Jan. 20 he arrived at his family's rented home in Hopkinton at about 11 a.m. and found the baby dead and covered in blood, next to the body of his wife.
"I walked in," he continued. "I called out to them. There was no reply. I couldn't hear the shower. I thought they were in the bathrooms.
"I just got a few things together downstairs. I went upstairs just to see where they were, and that's when I found them. ... My first thing was to, I just, I looked. ... It was obvious that I had to get out of the house."
Before he left, he said he covered the bodies with a white sheet.
"Why?" Manning asked.
"I don't know," he answered. "It felt like I was closing them off."
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