Saturday, 2:15 PM
Entwistle described finding bodies in phone call with police
(Associated Press photos/Ken McGagh, pool)
Sergeant Robert Manning of the State Police held an audio recording of a two-hour phone conversation he had with Neil Entwistle.
By Franci R. Ellement, Globe Correspondent, and Andrew Ryan, Globe staff
WOBURN -- A plodding, two-hour phone conversation that Neil Entwistle had with police shortly after the killings was rambling and repetitive as he struggled to explain why he left his slain wife and baby in their Hopkinton home without calling police and flew back to England.
His tone oscillated from methodical to hazy to what sounded like sniffling as Entwistle described his "trance-like" state after discovering the bloody bodies, according to a recording of the conversation played today in Middlesex Superior Court. Entwistle, 29, said he contemplated suicide with a kitchen knife or a gun, and he tried to describe why he flew back to his native England without calling 911 or notifying his wife's family in Carver.
"The state that I'm in at the moment, I don't feel like I've done the right thing," said Entwistle, who was speaking with a Massachusetts state trooper from his parents home in Worksop, England. "By not being the one to call and say what happened. I just couldn't get it clear in my head to do it."
The unnerving audio recording was the final piece of evidence that will be offered by the prosecution in a case that has spanned 11 days and included testimony from more than 30 witnesses. It was the first time that the jury in the double-murder trial has heard the voice of Entwistle, who was speaking by phone with Sergeant Robert Manning 12 hours after arriving at his parents' home two hours north of London.
Manning never asked Entwistle point-blank whether he killed his wife, Rachel, 27, and 9-month-old daughter, Lillian. Instead, the investigator asked oblique, suggestive questions about whether he had done anything "out of character" or whether "something bad had happened at the house."
"I couldn't do that," Entwistle said when he finally seemed to grasp what Manning was implying. "Why would I do that?"
Manning said: "I don't know. Could be a million reasons. Could be no reasons, I don't know. I'm not saying you did it, I'm just asking if a situation took place that was out of character for you and your wife and this situation happened."
"No, no, nothing," Entwistle said, sounding exasperated. "It was just a normal, it was just a normal day."
Jurors listened intently as they followed the conversation on a printed transcript. Rachel Entwistle's family and friends leaned forward in their seats. Her stepfather, Joseph Matterazzo, looked several times at Neil Entwistle, something he has avoided for much of the trial.
Matterazzo let out a heavy sigh when Entwistle said on the tape that he had as much respect and admiration for his in-laws "as my own family."
Early in the phone call, Entwistle's voice quivered with emotion, and he had trouble speaking as he described finding the bodies in their master bedroom at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2006.
"When I walked in I couldn't see Lilly. I could only see Rachel, and she looked asleep," Entwistle said. "The first thing I noticed was her color. She was so pale. Then when I got closer, I could see the blood."
Entwistle continued: "I pulled the covers back … and I knew -- Lilly was such a mess. There wasn't any on Rachel. I couldn't see any on Rachel. It was all on Lilly. What sticks in my mind was her whole mouth and nose were covered. It was almost like they were bubbles. It was obviously they weren't alive anymore."
Entwistle said later in the conversation that he pulled bedding over the bodies. Manning asked why he did that.
"I don't know," Entwistle said. "I almost felt like I was closing them off. I don't know why I did it."
Without prompting, Entwistle added later: "I haven't even cried yet."
"You haven't even cried?" Manning asked.
"No. Not properly."
"What would properly be?" Manning asked.
"I shed a few tears," Entwistle said, stammering as he told a story about a Christmas ornament the couple had sent from Lillian to her paternal grandparents in England.
Entwistle stopped speaking for a moment. "I don't know what I'm thinking at the moment," he said.
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