Notts man Neil Entwistle appeals against murder conviction
A NOTTS man convicted of murdering his wife and baby daughter at their US home has launched a formal appeal against his conviction.
Neil Entwistle, 32, was jailed in June 2008 for shooting his wife Rachel, 27, and nine-month-old daughter Lillian at their Massachusetts home on January 20, 2006.
Entwistle, a former IT consultant from Kilton, Worksop, formally filed an appeal yesterday after arguing he should receive a fresh trial because police searched his home without a warrant when they came to check on his family.
Entwistle's lawyer Stephen Paul Maidman will argue for a new trial at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state's highest court.
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A decision could take weeks or even months to come through, a clerk at the court has said.
In an appeal brief filed to the court, Mr Maidman said: "The two warrantless entries into the defendant's house by the police violated the federal and state constitutions.
"On the two occasions when the police entered the defendant's house, the police did not have objective knowledge of an emergency inside or have objective knowledge that there was a person inside the home in need of immediate aid."
He added that the evidence derived from these "unlawful searches" of the home is tainted.
He said: "All of this evidence should have been suppressed at the trial."
But prosecutors said police were justified in entering the property because they were responding to concerns about the family's wellbeing raised by friends and relatives.
They say Entwistle had become despondent after accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in debt and had complained about his marriage.
Entwistle's lawyer also argues that judge Diane Kottmyer did not thoroughly question potential jurors to determine whether they were biased against him after the case received worldwide news coverage.
In the appeal brief, Mr Maidman said: "That there was extraordinary prejudicial pre-trial publicity in this case that was both saturating and inflammatory, by Massachusetts and even national standards, cannot be legitimately disputed."
Judge Kottmyer denied Entwistle's request to move the trial out of Middlesex county.
"The defendant is entitled to a new trial utilising a jury selection process where there can be no question that the seated jurors are fair and impartial," Mr Maidman wrote.
Middlesex district attorney Gerard Leone, whose office prosecuted Entwistle, said he received a "true and just" trial.
Entwistle left the US the day after the killings and later told police he did so because he wanted to be consoled by his parents.
He said he found his wife and daughter cuddled together in bed, dead from apparent gunshot wounds, after he returned home from running errands.
Friends giving evidence said the couple appeared to have had a happy marriage.
Entwistle was sentenced at Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, with the judge calling Entwistle's crimes "incomprehensible".
Judge Kottmyer also imposed a 10-year probation sentence for two firearms offences and ordered that Entwistle should not profit from his crimes by writing a book.
On the fifth anniversary of the killings last year, Rachel's mother Priscilla and stepfather Joe Matterazzo described the murders as an "unbearable betrayal", after they had once welcomed him into their family as a seemingly loving husband and doting dad.
And last year, Neil Entwistle's father, Cliff Entwistle, of Worksop, told how his son's time in prison had been "very tough" for the family.
He said: "From where we stand as a family our son has always been innocent. Our son has been incarcerated for the past five-and-a-half years and it certainly has been very tough for the family."