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NBC Universal Anchors and Correspondents
By Dennis Murphy Correspondent
NBC News
updated 6/27/2008 7:44:17 PM ET 2008-06-27T23:44:17
TRANSCRIPT

This story originally aired Dateline NBC on June 27, 2008.

They met in a most English Wind-in-the-Willows kind of way: By messing about in boats. How appropriate that the university boathouse would turn out to be on Love Lane.

In the north of England the Ouse River flows through the ancient Yorkshire countryside and each practice and race day, Rachel Souza, the petite American, would sit in the coxswain's seat and bellow out instructions in her Boston accent to the eight young men facing her in a line, fellow students at the University of York.

Carolyn Eisen had struck up an immediate liking for Rachel when they met on their Junior-Year-Abroad.

Carolyn Eisen: Rachel was on the crew team.  She was a coxswain, and as much as I understand, she sat at the end of the boat and yelled things at the boys.  Told them to row.  And she was great for this because she was pretty short.

One of the lads dipping oars in unison to the American girl's call was Neil Entwistle. In class-conscious Britain he was a striver, a bright boy from a coal-mining town that had seen better days. It's not hard to imagine him being drawn to the vivacious American.

Donovan Slack, Boston Globe reporter: Her friends describe her as spritely, and full of energy.  She had a sparkle in her eyes that just made everyone she met fall in love with her.

And pretty soon you could count Neil Entwistle in that group. By the end of her school term, Neil was a fixture at Rachel Souza's side. And Rachel's friend approved.

Carolyn Eisen: I would see him, like, opening the door for her.  And he was very polite.  I think he always called when he said he would call her. You know, the things that you're hoping to find when you're meeting a new guy.  And he adored her. 

As a schoolboy--son of a town councilor and a school cook--great things were expected of Neil. His childhood friend, Anthony Bootman, remembers Neil as the go-to guy for any computer wizardry.

Anthony Bootman: Well beyond what any of the rest of the students could do.  He was really clever at stuff like that engineering craft and design. 

At the University of York, he was studying for a degree in engineering, when he met Rachel.

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But semesters end, as semester do, and by the late summer of 2000, Rachel was back home in Massachusetts preparing to finish her senior year at Holy Cross. But she couldn't shake off the happy memory of her English boyfriend, Neil.

Donovan Slack: Rachel told her friends in Massachusetts that Neil was her knight in shining armor. 

So when Rachel graduated in 2001 she went right back over to York, England, enrolled in a teacher training program, and quickly resumed with Neil where they'd left off.

Two years on, Neil and Rachel decided to marry at the historic Plymouth Plantation.  

Donovan Slack: They had a fairy tale wedding. It was very obvious to the guests there that they were very much in love.

They settled into a modest flat in the Midlands of England, where Neil could commute to his job. 

He'd parlayed his Masters degree in electrical engineering into a job as a computer specialist with a large defense contractor. Rachel, meanwhile, was teaching English and drama at a Catholic school.

Buchanan: She was in a job that she loved.  She loved working with young people.  She really enjoyed being a teacher. She seemed blissfully happy following her marriage.

On a website named RachelandNeil.org, Neil the computer whiz had created an online photo album to share pictures with their families and friends so far away back in the States, portraits of the beaming, vibrant couple.

In April 2005, they flooded the site with photos of a new arrival, a baby girl named Lillian Rose.

The infant -- nicknamed Lilly-Bean -- was growing up so fast that her grandparents back in the States, Rachel's mother, Priscilla, and her stepdad, Joe Materazzo, wanted to see ever more of the little girl they doted on.

Maybe it was time to give America a try for awhile?

Slack:  Neil and she decided to move back to Massachusetts. They moved in with her parents for several months. And they finally managed to get their own place.

The house that would become their home was discovered in the suburbs of Boston, a place called Hopkinton, an hour's drive from her parents.

Entwistles signed a three-month lease on the property, with a rent of $2700 a month.

Crime reporter Michele McPhee has written a book about the Entwistle case.

McPhee:  I mean, this house was huge by many people's standards.  It had four bedrooms. They could take a jacuzzi under the stars. 

And to fill-up the garage, they leased a white BMW SUV for another $400 per month.

Later on people, would wonder where their money was coming from, since Neil was still job hunting and setting up interviews. But husband didn't bat an eye when in the next few days they bought furniture for their new nest.

A few days after moving in--when January 19, 2006 rolled around on the calendar, a Thursday--all seemed well in the home that was coming together on 6 Cubs Path.

Michele McPhee:   She gets a phone call from her longtime good friend, Joanna Gately, and Joanna says, "I’ll come over this weekend.  We’ll have dinner.  I’ll help you.  I want to see the new house.  I want to see the baby." 

It was going to be a busy weekend. In addition to a dinner party Rachel was planning with Joanna for Saturday night, Rachel's mother was coming over for lunch with a friend that same day.

So as Rachel drifted off to sleep that evening she might have been thinking about getting the house ready for its big debut with friends and family.

From what police were able to piece together later, it was the last time she'd ever turn out the bedside light. 

Their new home was ready to be shown off.

The furniture had arrived and Rachel and Neil were throwing their first Saturday night dinner party for their friends.

But when Rachel's friend Joanna Gately and her sister pulled up to #6 Cubs Path on Jan. 21, 2006, a Saturday, the house was strangely quiet. Just a light on in the upstairs master bedroom.

McPhee: They're ringing the doorbell.  They peer in the window. They see no sign of Rachel.  No sign of the baby.  And no sign of Neil.

Dennis Murphy:  Did she have the wrong night maybe? Had there been a miscommunication?

On the front door she found a handwritten note.  It was from Rachel's mother, Priscilla Materazzo -- she'd been by earlier that same day for a lunch invitation with her daughter, but didn't find anyone at home.

Joanna the friend immediately called Rachel's mother on her cell. Neither knew what was going on. Where could Rachel, Neil and the baby be?

It was all unsettling enough that friend and mother agreed they should call the police.

The Middlesex County District Attorney, Gerry Leone:

Gerry Leone: The officers were doing a well-being check based upon people who asked they check on Rachel and Neil .. The police officers when they entered the house were not expecting anything all that unusual they were their in the interest to determine that everyone was there and safe.

Dennis Murphy: And they went room to room and didn’t find anything, right?

Leone: No. In fact when you went through house it was as if things were disrupted in way that would cause you to believe in a cursory pass through that there was anything amiss.

Their BMW was not in the garage, but the garage door was closed.  The TV was on, music was playing in the baby's room. The master bedroom had a rumpled, fluffy comforter on it as if the bed was unmade. 

McPhee: They started to think all kinds of scenarios.  Car accident.  Where are they?  Joanna said, "I’m not leaving until they get home."  And in an astonishing show of friendship, she slept there in the driveway all night long on a cold New England night, waiting for the Entwistles to come home.

But come the dawn, there were still no Entwistles. And now everyone was frantic. By that evening they went to the Hopkinton police department to fill out a missing persons report.

About this time, Rachel's stepfather, Joe Matterrazo, put a call into a friend, retired State Trooper, Joseph Flaherty, hoping he could help expedite an investigation.

Flaherty: I said to Joe, "There aren't, without being an alarmist, there aren't a lot of good scenarios here. And I told him that I would do my best to get somebody from the state police to call the Hopkinton Police to get a detective to start working on the case.

The police agreed to make a second sweep of the house. Though it was only a day later, they knew as soon as they walked in that this time, something wasn't right.

McPhee: This overwhelming stench of death.  Which all too many police officers are familiar with.  And no one will ever forget.

They followed the sickly-sweet scent to the master bedroom, to the unmade rumpled bed itself. 

Gerry: They did a little more than a cursory search that time around, and the unfortunate reality is lifting a puff comforter off of the bed they found the tragic consequences.

Dennis Murphy:  What did they find when they looked in the bed?

Gerry: Rachel and Lillian who had been killed.

Dennis Murphy:  Almost in an embrace?

Gerry: Yes, very close together. Almost as if they had been sleeping together or resting together.

The officers radioed for help, and went looking for the third name on their missing person report, the husband, Neil Entwistle.

McPhee: They saw no sign of him.  They looked in closets.  They looked everywhere in the house.  I mean, they did an up and down search of this four-bedroom house and they found nothing. 

As Massachusetts state forensic teams descended on the house to begin the painstaking work of processing the home, now a crime scene, police issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for the family's missing white BMW SUV.

Then came the awful task of breaking the news to Rachel's mom and stepdad. The medical examiner had done his work and found that both Rachel and Lillian had been shot to death with a small-calibre weapon. The baby shot through the torso, the bullet exiting into the mother's breast. Rachel had been shot once in the head.

The investigators' question now was: Where was the son-in-law, Neil?

Flaherty: I did tell Joe that, "Let's wait until we find out where Neil Entwistle is.  He could be expired in the trunk of a car." We didn't know.  But I said, "You know, we have to get somebody to find the car.  And find out where he is."

It was about then--with tragedy engulfing them--that the Matterazzos began to realize how little they actually knew about their daughter's English husband. In the months that he'd lived with Rachel at her parents' as they settled into their new life in Massachusetts, Priscilla and her husband Joe never could get a handle on exactly what it was that Neil did for a living. Something to do with computers. He was vague about it when they started the conversation.

Something else was a little funny: No one had ever seen him use cash -- only credit cards.

McPhee: Neil, would always reassure Rachel.  And he would reassure the Mattarazzos,  "Well, my money--we're fine.  We’re okay.  We have money.  It’s just tied up in offshore accounts."

Two days after the mother and daughter were found beneath the comforter, the "Where's Neil?" question was answered.

McPhee: Clifford Entwistle, Neil Entwistle's dad, called Joe Matterazzo, and said, "We don't know what's going on. I’m very sorry to hear about the deaths. Neil’s here. What’s happening?" 

What happened next would be even more remarkable. The parents of Rachel Entwistle were about to hear from Neil himself.

On a chilly February day, a crowd of more than 500 gathered at the Plymouth church where Rachel and Neil Entwistle's daughter, Lillian, had been baptized just seven weeks before.  This time, the family, friends and loved ones gathered to lay Rachel and her baby girl to rest. 

Conspicuously absent at the funeral was Neil Entwistle, the husband and father who'd inexplicably flown to England the day before his wife and daughter were discovered dead in their home.  After a day in seclusion, Neil emerged from his parents' house in Worksop, England, dodging reporters' questions. 

Dennis Murphy:  By then, Rachel's family had learned disturbing things about their son-in-law. 

Niel Entwistle: Hello.

Police: Hi. Is this Neil?

Neil Entwistle: It is. Yes.

Police: Neil, this is -- my name's Bob Manning.  I'm a trooper with the Massachusetts State Police.

In a rambling, two-hour telephone interview from his parents' house in England, Entwistle told a Massachusetts state police investigator about that last day he had seen his wife and daughter alive. The investigator recorded that conversation.

Entwistle: It was -- it was Friday morning. We got up about 7:00, which is what we normally do.  And I fed Lillian.

Manning: Uh-huh.

Entwistle: And well... then I wanted to go out -- just to the store to find some computer equipment...

In a quavering voice, Neil Enwistle recounted heading out at about nine to comparison shop for computer supplies at Staples and Wal-Mart. When he got back, around eleven, he said, the house was quiet.

After puttering around for a while on the first floor, he said, he went upstairs. That's when he found them.   

Entwistle: When I walked in, I couldn't see Lilly.  I could only see Rachel. And she just looked asleep. And they -- you know, I, that -- at first it didn't look anything wrong.

When he got closer, Neil said he saw immediately that his wife and daughter had been killed.

Entwistle: Lilly was such a mess.

Police: Where did you see some blood, sir?

Entwistle: Well, there was -- wasn't any on Rachel... It was all on-- it was all on Lilly... Her whole, the whole mouth -- mouth and nose were-- covered. They were, it was almost like it -- it was bubbles.

Dennis Murphy:  Entwistle then told the investigator that he he felt so distraught he went downstairs and grabbed a kitchen knife to do himself in, but he reconsidered.

Entwistle: I think it was almost the thought of how much it was going to hurt. I couldn't do it. And then I realized that what I needed to do was to get to Priscilla and you know -- I've got to let Priscilla know.

He decided he needed to get over to his in-laws' house, he told the police sergeant. And it was at that point he remembered that his father-in-law, Joe Materazzo, had a gun. A gun would be better than a knife.

Manning: You wanted to go to their house, to try and get in, thinking you wanted to hurt yourself—

Entiwistle: That—

Manning: ... with one of his guns?

Entwistle: --that was what I... at that point. Yeah. But it, everything, but none of this happened.

No one was home at the Mattarazzos, so Neil said he never went inside. Rather, he drove to Boston's Logan Airport. At that point, he said, all he could think of was going home to his parents.

So the young husband who claimed he discovered his wife and daughter shot to death never called 911 or told her parents but simply ran back to his childhood home across the ocean without telling a soul.

Entwistle: I don't feel that I've done the right thing in what I've done here by not letting, you know, by not being the one to call and say what had happened.

The strange rambling phone interview gave detectives a lot to work with. Why, for starters, had he said so much about his father-in-law's gun collection? They would test them all in a lab.

Police at Boston's Logan Airport meanwhile had located the Entwistle's white BMW in an airport parking lot. The driver's seat was pushed way back, the SUV was locked with the keys still inside. The water bottle in the cup holder was swabbed to recover a sample of Entwistle's DNA.

Detectives had also seized Neil Entwistle's laptop and were scouring its hard drive for clues when they found what looked like possible motives, reasons why he would want to rid himself of his family.

For one thing, forensic technicians found, he'd been runnning what looked like a possible scam.

McPhee: He was selling bogus computer equipment over eBay and had infuriated a lot of customers who claimed that they paid and never received the product.  There were postings on eBay that the Entwistles were not to be trusted.  And all of this started to unravel.

And investigators found something else on that laptop. He'd searched on a series of kinky websites with titles like "Naughty Nightlife", "Blonde Beauties", and "Hot Local Escorts."  The story told by the computer was that Neil Entwistle, the well-scrubbed family-man, had been dabbling in a secret life. Two hats: potential scam artist and would be swinger.

On Feb. 9, 2006, three weeks after his wife and daughter's death, Neil Entwistle was arrested by British authorities in a London subway station. 

Neil Entwistle was arrested this morning just before noon London-time, just before 7 am our time on two charges of murder. The murder of Rachel Entwistle and Lillian Entwistle.

Neil Entwistle was brought back to Massachusetts and appeared in court wearing a bullet-proof vest. He entered a not guilty plea to the charges of the first-degree murders of Rachel and Lillian Entwistle.

Friends of both Neil and Rachel couldn't believe what was happening.

Anthony Bootman, childhood friend of Neil: Just had all shock, disbelief.  And I still find it really hard to believe that he may have done it.

Carolyn Eisen: I can't make sense of it.  I don't understand how this could have happened.

Rachel's family issued an emotionally wrought statement through their friend, former state trooper Joe Flaherty.

Flaherty: The family is deeply saddened at the arrest of Neil Entwistle for the murders of Rachel and Lillian Rose. Rachel and Lili loved Neil very much. Neil was a trusted husband and father and it is incomprehensible how that love and trust was betrayed in the ultimate act of violence.

It would take more than two years before Neil Entwistle would have his day in court, when the secrets about his life and his relationship with Rachel would be more fully revealed.

On June 6, 2008, two-and-a-half years after Rachel and baby Lillian were found shot to death in their Boston area home, Neil Entwistle would stand trial for the murder of his wife and daughter.

The Middlesex County district attorney, Gerry Leone, had assembled a top team of prosecutors to try the case.

Leone: As any case like this, we do it as a team, and we talk a lot about it. And what you try to do is you put your defense counsel hat on, you try to figure out where the holes in your case are.

The theory of the crime prosecutors had to prove -- a killer husband, almost dead broke and boiling with sexual frustration -- was based almost entirely on circumstantial evidence.

Take the .22 revolver that police believe was the murder weapon. It was a mixed bag as far as forensic evidence. The handgun belonged to Rachel’s stepfather, Joe Mattorazzo, but it had no readable fingerprints.

On the other hand, as a DNA analyst testified, Neil Entwistle's DNA was found on the grip and trigger guard of that same revolver, as well as DNA from Rachel both in and around the gun's muzzle.

Laura Bryant: I was able to match the major DNA profile to the DNA profile from Rachel Entwistle.

A forensic chemist took the stand, showing jurors the bloody pillowcase mother and child had rested their heads upon.

She testified that based on tests for gunshot residue, Rachel was probably shot from 18-inches away, while baby Lillian had had the revolver's muzzle pressed against her chest.

Dygan: I concluded it was a contact shot.

Prosecutor: What is that?

Dygan: A contact shot is from a firearm when the firearm is pressed directly against the target.

How could there be a motive to match such an unimaginable crime?

The jurors would soon hear that life under the roof of the young Entwistles wasn't as glowing as it looked on the web page Neil had put up filled with photo album happy snaps.

Remember that scam he'd been running on eBay? It looked like he was selling software that never materialized. A fraud investigator from eBay testified about how duped customers were sending him money, but getting nothing in return.

And eBay wasn't the only site Neil was visiting.  Prosecutors would show how the husband had been trolling for sex online through steamy hook-up sites like "Adult Friend Finder."

A computer specialist read from the profile Entwistle had set up for himself on that site -- an Englishman teasing American women to prove their prowess in bed.

Laurence James (reading): "I need to confirm what friends have told me, that you are much better in bed than the women over the ocean."

Dennis Murphy:  Is this fantasy stuff do you think, or is he actually trying to find swingers, escorts, somebody out there, somebody outside the relationship?

Leone: It's hard to tell whether it's fantasy or not. The fact of the matter is at the end of the day it really gives you a window into his mind. And in addition to everything else we have, you start to piece together a picture of who he is. He was unsuccessful in trying to find a job, and we felt that was another factor, another indicator which led to his what his state of mind was at the time. He was a failure.

The computer expert also testified about a disturbing Google search made on Entwistle's laptop on Jan. 16, just four days before the killings.  A password-protected file had been set up under username, "Ent."

Six words had been typed into the search engine.

James: In quotation marks, "How to kill with a knife."

The next day, two more searches, for "knife in neck kill" and...

James: "Quick Suicide Method."

The prosecution built on its unappealing portrait of a get-rich quick entrepreneur and internet sex addict with testimony about his actions in the hours after the killings.

A bank investigator told the jury about multiple ATM withdrawals Neil had attempted the day of the deaths. The couple's joint account was overdrawn, so Neil was denied all but $800 from a line of credit.

The next morning, Saturday, he was attempting to withdraw still more money at the airport, where that day he also bought a one-way ticket to England.

But it was what Entwistle didn't do in the hours after he claims to have discovered his wife and daughter shot to death that--to the prosecutors--was maybe most chilling of all. He didn't call 911. He didn't cry out for help. He didn't even tell his in-laws what had happened to their beloved daughter and grandchild.

It wasn't until Jan. 23, three days later, that Neil even called his wife's parents, the Mattarazzos, to explain what had happened.

Under questioning by prosecutor Michael Fabbri (fab-ree), father-in-law Joe Matarazzo recounted that overseas call from a whimpering Neil Entwistle.

Joe Matarazzo: First he said, "Hi, Joe, I don't know how things got like this."

Neil told Joe Matarazzo that after finding Rachel and Lily dead, he drove to his in-law's house, partly because he knew Joe kept guns in the house.

Joe Matarazzo: He said when he got to the house, he knew that I had guns in the house, but he didn't have a key he couldn't get in.

Proseuctor: What else did he tell you?

Joe Matarazzo: He said he wanted to see Priscilla and me. He said he couldn't face me.

The father-in-law testified that over the next couple of days, he spoke to Neil several times. Once they discussed funeral arrangements and the father-in-law thought he heard a slip.

Joe Matarazzo: He asked me if Rachel and Lily could be buried together.

Prosecutor: And did he say anything further?

Joe Matarazzo: Yes.  He says, "Because that's the way I left them, I mean, that's the way I found them."

Prosecutor: And that's your best recollection of what he said?

Joe Matarazzo: That's exactly what he said.

Whether he'd "found them dead" or "left them dead," at the funeral a week later Neil compounded his problems with his wife's family by being a no-show.

Rachel’s mother, Priscilla Matarazzo, testified about her son-in-law's unexplained absence.

Prosecutor: Did you see the defendant there at any point in time during the funeral on February 1st?

Priscilla: No.

Dennis Murphy: Entwistle's story that he'd been too distraught to face Rachel’s parents might have carried some weight if he hadn't been caught by then in a series of lies.

Benjamin Prior, an old friend from his university days, testified that he'd met up with Neil shortly after he arrived back in England.

Neil told the friend that before leaving the States, he’d told his mother-in-law, Priscilla, about Rachel and the baby, and had reported the information to the police. Neither story checked out.

Prior: He spoke to the State Police and sort of told them what happened.

Weinstein: Did he tell you how he had gotten in touch with the State Police?

Prior: I believe it was over the telephone.

Another English buddy, Dasheil Munding, told the court he was with Neil the day he was arrested at a tube stop on the London underground.

Munding: I told Neil that I'd received a phone call from the police that they were looking to pick him up in London.

The friend said that police had called him to direct Entwistle out of the train station. In effect, get your mate to turn himself in without a fuss.

But Entwistle implored the friend to help him dodge the police waiting outside.

Munding: He asked whether there was some other way of getting off the platform.

After two weeks and more than 40 witnesses, the prosecution was almost ready to rest its case, but not before letting jurors hear one final disembodied voice.

The recorded conversation Entwistle had with police just 12 hours after arriving at his parent's house in England was played in court.

Entwistle: I haven't even cried yet.

Police: You haven't even cried?

Entwistle: No. Not properly.

Police: What would properly be?

Entwistle: I shed a few tears.

When the prosecution's picture was done, Neil Entwistle had been portrayed before the court as a heartless killer, failed father, husband and entrepreneur.

Prosecutor: There is one person responsible for the murders. And that man is sitting right there. He's the one that pulled that trigger twice. Put a bullet in the head of Rachel Entwistle. Put a body through the body of Lilly Entwistle.

But the defense team was about to present its own picture of Neil and it had a very different take on what had happened in the Entwistle home that winter day in 2006.

It was a scenario that would startle most in the courtroom, not least of all Rachel Souza's family.

The prosecution had depicted Neil Entwistle as a failure, a cold-blooded killer who shot his wife and child in the couple's master bedroom, then made good his escape all the way back home to England.

But the defense attorneys were about to sketch a very different picture of Entwistle:  Adoring Neil.

Eliot Weinstein, lead defense attorney: Neil loved his wife, and Neil loved his daughter. On January 20th, he lost them both. Everything that he said and everything that he did thereafter, he did because he loved them.

The defense attorney advised the jurors that Neil Entwistle had been a loving husband and devoted father. That much, everyone -- from family to friends -- seemed to agree on.

Priscilla Mattarazzo: They seemed to have a friendship, as well as seemed to love and respect each other.

Benjamin Prior: They were very devoted to each other, yes.

Joanna Gately: They seemed very happy and excited.

The defense would call no witnesses of its own.  The defendant declined to take the stand and tell the jury his story, as was his right. 

But his lawyers had plenty to say, using cross-examination of the prosecution's witnesses to suggest to jurors that perhaps Rachel Entwistle wasn't the engaging lively young mother with everything to live for as she'd been portrayed.  Maybe Rachel was suffering from post-partum depression?  Did she feel unexpectedly isolated back home in America? 

The defense asked the jury to ponder whether this case before them wasn't a double murder at all, a gun in the hand of the husband, but rather a murder-suicide.  Was it possible that the gun was actually fired by Rachel? Shooting the baby first, and then herself?

Weinstein: Everyone's mindset, everyone's frame of reference, filtered information to solve a murder.  No one was open to even considering possibility of suicide.

Dennis Murphy: So your theory of the crime, and it is a crime, it's a murder suicide, you have to believe that Rachel Entwistle held the gun to her child's torso shot her and turned the gun on herself.

Weinstein: Yes.             

In this defense theory, the single most important piece of evidence was gunshot residue found on both of Rachel Entwistle's hands. 

More damaging still for the prosecution was the fact that in cross examination, the defense got the medical examiner to admit that he was never even made aware of the residue on the dead woman's hands. 

Zane: No, I was not informed.

And a forensic chemist conceded in cross examination that when technicians did that same kind of gunshot residue test on the things that Neil Entwistle was known to have touched that day, no traces of gunpowder were found.

Weinstein: You tested and had negative results with respect to the BMW keys.

John Dygan: Yes

Weinstein: You tested and had negative results with result the BMW steering wheel.

Dygan: Yes.

Weinstein: And you tested and you had a positive test result with respect to Rachel Entwistle's hands.

Dygan: Yes.

If the jury was following the assertion that the gun may have been in the hand of a depressed young mother, then maybe other pieces of evidence could be seen in a new light.  Like those Internet searches on how to commit suicide.

As for the prosecution's offer of a motive for murder, the sexually frustrated husband, hopelessly in debt, the defense countered that that wasn't the way things were.  Entwistle's finances may have been wobbly, argued the defense, but they certainly weren't spiraling out of control.

The couple's landlord told defense attorney Stephanie page that they'd paid three months rent in advance.

Defense: Two checks came from Citizens Bank, is that correct?

Kim Puig: Yes.

Defense: And of course they cleared?

Puig: Yes, they did. 

Dennis Murphy: Was this guy dead broke?

Weinstein: The evidence that was presented absolutely to the contrary. We all know what dead broke is, that wasn't their financial picture.  Neil's a computer engineer. He had fine computer-based employment in London. He was going to get a job.

And as far as the kinky websites Entwistle visited, his lawyer argued that millions of men do the same thing everyday, and they don't kill their wife and child as a result. 

Of course, there was an obvious problem with the defense assertion the Rachel had killed her daughter then herself.  How did the gun end up back in her step-father's collection at his home an hour's drive away?

The defense asked the court to remember that Neil had admitted going to his in-law's house, in telephone conversations with both the police investigators and Rachel’s step-father.  Neil now said through his lawyer that he entered his in-law's house that morning and put the handgun he'd found with Rachel and the baby back in her step-father's gun case.  Why?  Because he was protecting her reputation.  

Dennis Murphy: The neon sign, call 911, call the police, call her parents, call somebody.

Weinstein: But Dennis, when you call 911, what's going to happen?  The police are going to show up, and if the police show up what are they going to find? They're going to find what Neil found. That Rachel has killed her child and killed herself.

Dennis Murphy: You argued in court later that this was really an act of love and devotion?

Weinstein: I argued that it was conduct designed to protect Rachel's memory.

Dennis Murphy: Because he saw suicide as a stigma.

Weinstein: He did.

Fleeing back to the childhood home in England, well, that was explained by his being a dazed and distraught husband.

Weinstein: What did he do on the day of Rachel's funeral? Neil went to place where he first proposed to Rachel. He went to the place where he first asked her to spend their lives together.

And so, more than two years after Neil Entwistle was charged with murder, the defense told the court that the police ever had only one suspect in their sites and couldn't think broadly enough to consider that this was really a murder suicide in the house on cub's path. 

It was at the very least a novel spin on the Neil Entwistle presented to the jury as a heartless killer.

Was it enough to create reasonable doubt?  The case was about to be the jurors to decide.

After two weeks and 46 witnesses, the two sides in the trial of Neil Entwistle finally rested their case. They’d presented two starkly different portraits of the defendant.

Which was it: a sexually-frustrated husband so drowning in debt that he murdered his wife and child? Or: A loving husband to the end, trying to preserve the memory of his depressed wife, from what he thought of as the shame of suicide?

Now it would be up to a jury to decide which version was the truth.

Ashley Sousa, juror: I tried to check for different emotions, I mean, just as a observation. There were a few times where I thought this man could be a genuine man and he could be telling the truth or he could be just a totally good liar.

It was a case that hit close to home for juror Ashley Sousa. She's 21, just a few years younger than the victim, and has a 2-year-old son.

Dennis Murphy: What was the most perplexing part of the story?

Ashley Sousa: I couldn't understand why he didn't call 911.  We didn't know if maybe things were maybe different in England.  Maybe they didn't know what 911 was.  I mean, that was what got me, why he wouldn't call 911.

Scott Parsons agrees.  He served as an alternate juror, but did not deliberate.

Scot Parsons: That had a very part of, you know, why he didn't-- why didn't he contact someone? 

The prosecution's portrayal of Neil Entwistle as would-be swinger who visited kinky websites didn't much matter to Ashley or her fellow jurors.

Ashley Sousa: The porn and the internet just-- it wasn't really any kind of evidence for us, really. 

Dennis Murphy: It was fantasy as far as you could tell, huh?

Ashley Sousa: Fantasy. Right. He wasn't getting what he wanted from his wife, but that doesn't necessarily make it a motive for him to kill his wife.

It was the prosecutor's crime scene investigators who presented the most compelling evidence for Ashley, but the defenses the murder suicide scenario also seemed plausible.

Ashley Sousa: I mean,  post-partum depression is real.  And as a mother, I can tell you it's real. And I’ve had post-partum, but we actually went through the crime scene in the deliberating room.  I mean, we reenacted it and we went through. 

Dennis Murphy: With someone portraying the part of Rachel?

Ashley Sousa: Yes.

Dennis Murphy: And the child, and how she would have to be and—

Ashley Sousa: Yep, how she was—

Dennis Murphy: --what things would—

Ashley Sousa: --holding Lillian and how far away she would be holding the gun. 

On the second day of deliberations, the jury sent word that they'd reached a consensus.

Judge: Have you reached a verdict? Please hand it to the court officer.

Neil Entwistle stood calmly facing the jury as he waited for the verdict.

Ashley Sousa: It was very hard.  Very, very hard.  To have him looking at us.  I mean, what is my fate?  My fate is in your hands.  What have you decided?

Court official: In the case of the Commonwealth vs. Neil Entwistle, charging the defendant with murder in the first-degree, is the defendant guilty or not guilty?

Juror: Guilty of murder in the first-degree of Rachel Entwistle.

Court official: On indictment number is the defendant guilty or not guilty?

Juror: Guilty of murder in the first-degree of Lillian Entwistle.

In the end, the jurors’ reenactment of the murder suicide convinced the last holdouts, including Ashley, that suicide just wasn't possible.

Ashley Sousa: We tried different positions of where she could have held the gun from her head. What different positions she could have been in with Lily.

Dennis Murphy: What made you decide that it wasn't a suicide?

Ashley Sousa: Rachel and I were both 5'2".  So if we had the same arm length and I held the gun from my head -- from my face -- and I shot myself, I would have burn marks all over my face.

After the verdict, outside the courthouse, Cliff and Ivonne Entwistle stood firmly behind their son, who plans to appeal his conviction.

Ivonne Entwistle: We know that our son Neil is innocent. And we are devastated to learn that the evidence points to Rachel murdering our grandchild. And then, committing suicide.

Later at a press conference, another couple, with a very different set of emotions. Rachel’s parents, Priscilla and Joe Materazzo stood hand in hand, relieved over the verdict they'd waited two and a half years to hear.

Joe Materazzo: Priscilla and myself would just like to thank everyone for the prayers and cards - and hundreds of cards that they sent us and support in this country and from Britain. Her students, friends, St. Augustine School sent cards and essays and it was greatly appreciated.

Neil Entwistle will be in prison, serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole, for the murders of his wife, Rachel and daughter Lillian.

Dennis Murphy: Ashley, any unanswered questions for you?  Missing pieces of the puzzle?

Ashley Sousa: What did Lillian do to him?  That's it.  Maybe we're not the love of your life anymore, but how can you un-love your child?

The Sousa family has set up a memorial scholarship in Rachel's name at her old high school.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Entwistle juror speaks out

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