After months of delays, jury selection is finally getting under way in the murder trial of 29-year-old Neil Entwistle, a computer engineer from England charged with the murder of his 27-year-old wife, Rachel, and 9-month-old baby girl, Lillian.
On Friday, Judge Diane Kottmeyer said no to a defense request to move the trial to Martha's Vineyard because of all the pre-trial publicity. That decision paved the way for jury selection to begin in what many believe will be one of the most sensational murder trials ever seen in Massachusetts.
It's been almost 2 ½ years since the bodies of Rachel and Lillian Entwistle were found with their arms intertwined, lying in a bed, shot to death in their home on a quiet cul-de-sac in a small New England town just west of Boston.
Hopkinton is best known as the starting point for the Boston Marathon. The local police spend a lot of their time on crosswalk enforcement and graffiti problems. Reports of shots fired in this town of 15,000 people usually turn out to be fireworks.
But on a wintry day in January 2006, a group of people, including Rachel's mother Priscilla Matterazzo of Carver, Mass., showed up at the Entwistle home at 6 Cubs' Path for a casual dinner party.
The Entwistles had just moved into the rented house 10 days earlier. The house was dark and it looked like no one was home, and the small group grew worried and eventually called the police.
Officers checked the house, but found nothing. It wasn't until the next day, Jan. 22, after relatives still hadn't heard from the couple, that police went back to the house and carried out a thorough search and found the bodies.
Court documents indicate that Rachel Entwistle died from a single .22 caliber gunshot wound to the head, and Lillian died from a single .22 caliber gunshot wound to the chest. Rachel's arms were draped over Lillian.
Neil Entwistle was nowhere to be found.
Robert Falcione, a longtime resident of Hopkinton and editor of Hopnews, a local Web site, said everyone in Hopkinton was shattered by the news.
"I don't think we've seen anything like that in this town," Falcione said. "They only lived here for 10 days. … That little girl had probably not even had a chance to go for a walk with her mom in a stroller downtown."
Authorities finally tracked Entwistle down at his parents' home in Worksop, England.
Court documents reveal that Entwistle told law enforcement that he found his wife and daughter dead after he returned from a shopping trip and he fled to England to be with his family. He never returned for the funeral and was arrested and charged with their murders on Feb. 8, 2006.
Entwistle's return to Massachusetts in February 2006 created a media frenzy. Helicopters hovered overhead and reporters swarmed the small courthouse as he arrived for his arraignment.
About the same time, hundreds of court documents were released that revealed sensational and unsavory details about the case to a news-hungry media.
Records showed that Neil Entwistle was heavily in debt and that he surfed porn sites shortly before the murders, including a local escort service called Blond Beauties Escort SVC and Adult Friend Finder.
Documents also indicated Entwistle conducted computer searches about murder and suicide in the days leading up to the murders. According to law enforcement records, his DNA was found on a .22 shotgun owned by his father-in-law.