With an impassive demeanor and his head bowed, Neil Entwistle appeared Thursday in a courtroom packed with his slain wife's family, and pleaded not guilty to killing her and their 9-month-old daughter.
Entwistle entered the Framingham District courtroom wearing the same black shirt he wore Wednesday upon arriving in the United States. He stood only steps from the doorway and said nothing as his court-appointed attorney, Elliot Weinstein, spoke on his behalf. Weinstein did not challenge the request that Entwistle be held without bail.
District Judge Richard Greco asked Weinstein if he had advised his client of the charges. Weinstein said, "Yes, I have, and he understands them." The hearing lasted only a few minutes, and a probable cause hearing was set for March 15.
After the hearing, Entwistle was whisked to a Cambridge jail, bound in handcuffs.
Entwistle's attorney then spoke out against the intense media coverage surrounding his client's case.
"I don't know that Mr. Entwistle will ever be able to get a fair trial on these charges," Weinstein said. "I am certain that anybody watching this telecast or reading the reporting of today's arraignment has already formed an opinion with respect to Mr. Entwistle's guilt. ... And that opinion is based on absolutely no facts and absolutely no evidence, and that is quite unfortunate."
It was the first time Rachel Entwistle's parents had seen their son-in-law since the bodies of his wife and daughter were discovered in the master bedroom of the Entwistles' home.
Prosecutors have alleged Entwistle was distraught by swelling personal debt and may have planned to kill himself as well.
Rachel Entwistle's family, led by her mother and stepfather, Priscilla and Joseph Matterazzo, filled the first three rows of the courtroom.
The somber family entered only moments before the hearing began, to an immediate hush among the media and observers assembled in the courtroom.
After the hearing on the courthouse steps, the family's spokesman, Joe Flaherty, read a statement from the parents of Rachel Entwistle. "To think that someone we loved, trusted and opened our home to could do this to our daughter and granddaughter is beyond belief. ... Neil betrayed our trust in so many different ways that it is almost impossible to describe."
The women carried small bouquets of lilies and roses tied with a white ribbon -- an apparent gesture of remembrance of Lillian Rose Entwistle.