Saturday, 2:15 PM
Defense suggests Rachel Entwistle may have killed herself
(AP Photos/CJ Gunther, pool)
Defense attorney Stephanie Page today cross examined Dr. William Zane, a state medical examiner.
By Franci R. Ellement, Globe Correspondent
WOBURN -- A defense attorney at the Neil Entwistle murder trial suggested today that Entwistle's wife, Rachel, may have committed suicide instead of being shot to death by her husband.
“Ninety-two percent of women use handguns to commit suicide,” Stephanie Page said during cross-examination of William Zane, a state medical examiner, adding that studies show that 72 percent of women who commit suicide shoot themselves in the head.
Rachel Entwistle, 27, died instantly after a bullet pierced the center of her head above her hairline and lodged in her brain, Zane testified. Her baby, 9-month-old Lillian Rose, was shot in the chest with a bullet that exited into Entwistle’s left breast. Prosecutors have alleged that Neil Entwistle, 29, killed the pair in the master bedroom of the couple’s rented Hopkinton home on Jan. 20, 2006, between 9 and 11 a.m.
Today is the 10th day of testimony in Entwistle's Middlesex Superior Court trial, which has made headlines both in the United States and in Entwistle's native England.
Zane testified that he had never worked on a case where a person had committed suicide by shooting themselves in the top of the head.
Citing a book published by an authority in the field, Page said that people “shoot themselves in the mouth, underside of chin and forehead, but there are people, however, who will be different and shoot themselves on the top of the head."
Yvonne Entwistle, Neil Entwistle's mother, broke down crying when the medical examiner described the wounds to the baby. Members of Rachel Entwistle's family looked down and put their hands to their mouths when the defense suggested Rachel had committed suicide.
Prosecutors say the murder weapon was discovered later in Rachel Entwistle's father's gun collection in Carver. They allege that Neil Entwistle returned it there after the slayings. It is not clear how the defense would explain the murder weapon being in the collection, if Rachel Entwistle had killed herself.
On direct questioning from prosecutor Michael Fabbri, Zane said the bullet that struck Lillian Rose went into her left chest and destroyed her kidney and liver, which he said is the size of a walnut at that age. The bullet also fractured the infant's 11th rib.
"Bleeding to death would occur fairly rapidly," Zane said.
Testifying earlier, computer forensics expert Lawrence James read Neil Entwistle's profile from AdultFriendFinder.com.
"I am an Englishman who just moved to the United States looking for one-on-one sex in a discreet relationship with American ladies and I always aim to make all experiences ones to remember," James read.
In another profile, Entwistle allegedly wrote he was looking to meet American women of all ages.
"I need to confirm what friends have told me -- that you are much better in bed than women over the ocean. We both want the same thing so there is little point in dragging it out," James read.
Prosecutors have painted a picture of a Entwistle as a broke, sex-obsessed man who was dissatisfied with his marriage.
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