Murder In Massachusetts: Entwistle Trial Post #3

My apologies for not posting an entry last night, as promised in my last post. I appeared on Court TV (now called TruTV) on Wednesday, providing live commentary and analysis of the trial, and my time during the balance of the afternoon and evening became very limited.

Well, in keeping with the pace of developments in the courtroom thus far, today’s events didn’t help Neil Entwistle much, either. Before I touch on those, however, I want to re-visit the closing of my June 10 2008 post, regarding the defense strategy employed by Entwistle’s attorneys. I stand by my comment that I would have strategized this defense differently, and advanced an insanity defense, rather than a straightforward claim of innocence and a strategy of raising reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. For context, however, I should have added that an attorney can only advance a specific defense with the consent of the client: If a client instructs his attorney to advance a defense of straight innocence to a charge, and not another type of defense, then the attorney is obligated to advance that defense. Therefore, the defense advanced by Entwistle’s attorneys may well have been the last one they would have chosen, and are only doing so due to instructions from their client. As Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Page are experienced and very capable criminal defense attorneys, this has long been my suspicion.

Back to today, from continuing testimony it appears that Neil Entwistle may indeed harbor two different personalities: One of a loving and devoted husband, and a caring and doting father – and another of a twisted, narcissistic, murderous killer. Which one is the truth? A hint may have peered through today when the jury was shown videotape from state police investigators of the murder scene. The tape, visible only to the jury, the judge, the lawyers and the defendant, was said to exhibit Rachel’s dead body, lying on her left side, her right arm cradling her dead baby. Classical music still playing in the baby’s room was said to have also been heard on the tape. Watching from his perspective at the defense table, Entwistle brought his hand to his mouth, and appeared, in the opinion of several observers present, to be restraining a smile or a laughing-type expression. Upon learning that several media were reporting those perceived reactions of their client, Entwistle’s attorneys took the media to task, urging them to avoid resorting to “cheap shots” at their client. They insisted their client is a grief-stricken man, robbed of his wife and daughter, and that he was reacting from that grief. In responding to this reporting, his attorneys are doing their job, even if it is outside the courtroom.

It is true we all react differently to grief. But I’ve never seen someone react to seeing images of their murdered or dead loved ones, with anything other than unmistakable pain. Several jurors must have witnessed Entwistle’s questionable reaction to this video. Things just seem to keep getting worse for this defendant. And his attorneys.

Today’s proceedings will resume with continued testimony from the state forensic evidence specialist, to testify as to blood evidence gathered at the scene.

It’s also Friday the 13th. And I don’t think it’s going to be a lucky day for Neil Entwistle.