WOBURN, Mass. – A judge refused Friday to dismiss murder charges or change the location of a trial for a British man accused of killing his wife and infant daughter, and delayed ruling on whether prosecutors can introduce evidence that Neil Entwistle trolled the Internet looking for sex.
Judge Diane Kottmyer rejected the defense claim that the intense media coverage of the case has made it impossible for Entwistle to find an impartial jury.
The judge also denied a request to move the trial to Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard after Entwistle's lawyer said it might be the only place in Massachusetts where the case has not received saturation media coverage. Kottmyer said jury selection will begin as scheduled Monday in Middlesex Superior Court.
Entwistle is charged with fatally shooting his wife, Rachel, 27, and daughter, Lillian Rose, 9 months, on Jan. 20, 2006. Their bodies were discovered curled up in bed together in their rented Hopkinton house two days later.
Kottmyer postponed a ruling on a request from prosecutors to show the jury Entwistle's computer history, which includes numerous visits to escort service Web sites and other sites that help people find sexual partners.
Weinstein said hearing about the Web sites could prejudice the jury against Entwistle because prosecutors plan to use his online history to argue he was motivated to kill his wife in part because he was unhappy with his sex life.
"The evidence in this case will show that there was nothing but a loving relationship between Neil and Rachel Entwistle," Weinstein said.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Fabbri said prosecutors want to tell the jury about Entwistle's computer history to "show what was going on in the mind of the defendant at or around the time of the crime."
Kottmyer said she will review earlier cases to decide whether the jury will hear about the sex sites.
According to a summary of the case filed in court by prosecutors, Entwistle's computer records showed he exchanged e-mails with a woman he met on a Web site called Adult Friend Finder. He told the woman he was in a relationship "but looking for a bit more fun in the bedroom" and "a very discrete relationship just for fun."
Prosecutors have said Entwistle was despondent because he was unemployed and deeply in debt. They have also said that he may have planned to kill himself after killing his wife and daughter.
Entwistle told police he returned home from doing errands to find his wife and daughter dead. He said he was so distraught upon finding their bodies that he contemplated suicide, but instead flew to England to be comforted by his parents.