Neil Entwistle Sentenced to Life for Double Murder

06/26/2008 at 12:30 PM EDT

Neil Entwistle Sentenced to Life for Double Murder
Neil Entwistle
Darren McCollester/AP
Neil Entwistle received the mandatory life sentence without parole for the brutal murder of his wife, Rachel, and their 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Rose, in their Massachusetts home in January 2006.

The British computer engineer, 29, appeared in the courtroom Thursday wearing a suit and tie, as he had done throughout his 12-day trial, after changing out of an orange prison uniform.

On Wednesday, Entwistle briefly closed his eyes as the jury's guilty verdict was announced, but for the most part remained stone-faced as his fate was being sealed. Earlier, family members of his wife delivered brief victim impact statements, blasting Entwistle for the "low and despicable" crime.

An automatic appeal is set to take place.

Family members had also requested that Judge Diane Kottmyer impose two consecutive life sentences as a symbolic gesture of the double murders, but the jurist rejected their request, explaining that a life sentence in Massachusetts affords no chance of release. He will serve in MCI Cedar Junction in South Walpole.

Entwistle did not take the stand during his trial. His defense attorney presented the theory of a suicide-murder, in which Rachel murdered the baby and then herself.

The jury of six women and six men took a relatively brief 11 hours to convict Entwistle of two counts of first-degree murder. One female juror, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Boston Globe that the jury reached its verdict after a member about the same height as Rachel Entwistle acted out the murder-suicide scenario presented by the defense. It was found not to be logistically possible.

Ultimately, she said, "there was no evidence anyone else had been in the house" around the time of the murders. "We tried to look at every aspect and analyze all the evidence that was put before us, because we wanted it to be a fair trial," she said.

At a grim press conference after the verdict was read, Rachel's mother. Priscilla Matterazzo, and stepfather, Joseph Matterazzo, thanked the public for sending cards and other signs of support.

Separately, Entwistle's parents appeared before reporters, to say that Rachel Entwistle "murdered" their granddaughter.

"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," said Neil's mother, Yvonne Entwistle. "I knew Rachel was depressed. Our son will now go to jail for loving, honoring and protecting his wife's memory."

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