Editor's note: In Session correspondent and former prosecutor Beth Karas covered the Entwistle case at CourtTV. Here she talks with Nancy Grace Producers about the killings and Neil Entwistle’s murder trial.
Q: What is your first thought when you think back to the Entwistle case?
A: I think about sitting in that Massachusetts courtroom at his murder trial, looking at this young man who had such a beautiful family, and wondering how he had reached such a low point in his life that he would allegedly slay his wife and infant daughter as they lay in bed. Then I heard the evidence unfold at trial and I certainly understood the jury’s guilty verdict.
Q: Was Neil Entwistle ever believable as a grieving husband?
A: Not really. Any grief he may have shown was overshadowed by his suspicious behavior. Entwistle had argued at trial that Rachel killed their daughter, then herself. He said he was “confused” when he found them and explained his behavior as an effort preserve Rachel’s reputation. But it defied logic that he would find his wife and daughter dead in bed and drive 50 miles to his in-laws’ home to tell them. Then, when he claimed they weren’t home, he drove to Boston’s Logan International Airport to buy a one-way ticket to England—all this without calling the police.
Q: Why do you think Neil Entwistle’s trial was not much of media circus?
A: While Entwistle was being sought in England, the case garnered a lot of international attention. His arrest, extradition to the U.S., and arraignment on murder charges were also widely reported. But, then the evidence against him started to trickle out. By the time of the trial, it seems most people understood the essence of the evidence against him, and concluded he was guilty. There wasn’t a big mystery surrounding the case, and mysteries are what interest the public.
Q: Is it true that gunshot residue was found on Rachel Entwistle’s hands supporting the defense’s theory that she killed herself?
A: It is true that there was gunshot residue on Rachel’s hands. This fact was used by the defense to support their theory that she killed baby Lillian before turning the gun on herself. However, the presence of gunshot residue simply means that her hands were in the vicinity of the gun when it was fired. It is not proof that she was the only person who could have fired the gun.
Q: Neil Entwistle still maintains to this day he did NOT kill his wife and infant daughter. Do you think that he will ever win an appeal?
A: Unlikely. Entwistle has lost all his appeals, thus far. The most recent decision was last August by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Unless he can come up with new arguments about how his constitutional rights were violated at the trial or new evidence pointing to another killer, he is likely to remain in a Massachusetts prison for the rest of his life.