I Saw Neil Entwistle
~Part IV ~ Entwistle gets arrested
A small town reporter's personal experience with a media frenzy
by Robert Falcione
As I got into my vehicle, I watched with surprise as the Channel 7 truck went right past the Police Station and continued up the hill, undoubtedly on its way to Cubs Path to have that inevitable backdrop for the upcoming newscast.
Well, I was out of the office with my camera anyway, and it was around the right time, so I planted myself in the driveway of the Police Station once again, and struck pay dirt before long. I was the only media person there.
The detectives pulled in and drove right past my vehicle while I fired away into their darkened sedan on that overcast and late afternoon (4:40 pm). HopNews was the only media outlet to get the photo.
The detectives could be seen inside the station. They spent around 5 minutes there, but left without making themselves available to answer questions, before getting into their personal vehicles and going to their families.
The photograph was a world-wide exclusive, I was told. They had given the media the slip at the airport.
The next day, while enjoying some soup at Main Street Specialties, I saw a Channel 7 news anchor and a cameraman come in and get in line to order food. I had met the photographer, Rudy, before, and had a long conversation with him at the crime scene; and although I knew the other man was a news anchor, I didn’t know his name.
“Hey guys, anything new in the case,” I asked them as they had their backs to me.
They both turned to look at me and the anchor pointed at me.
“HopNews dot com! Hi, I’m Jeff Glor from Channel 7,” he said in an ironic twist, where the celebrity knows the nobody. We traded stories and I brought them to the studio so they could take a video of the detective’s car that I had photographed the afternoon before to use in their newscast. Jeff Glor turned out to be not just a celebrity and on-air talent, but a good reporter who put his leather to the pavement chasing leads. I had expected to watch their planned broadcast from the Common at 4:00 pm, but Christina Hager from Channel 4 called and wanted to stop by at that same time and do a short interview with me.
She too was not just a celebrity newscaster, but at the top of her game, asking pertinent questions and digging all she could. Did I know anything that was not public? she asked.
I answered by saying I didn’t believe that a reporter should release information that could jeopardize an investigation. It would soon turn out that my thinking was in the minority, and it was a very small one at that. She got the shot of the photo of he detective's car too, and did an excellent report on that evening's news.
Skynews from Britain stopped by while I was away from the office. They came and went.
The next evening, Dan Jaehnig from Fox 25 News called shortly after 6:00 p.m. while he was driving on Wood Street, and asked to stop by for an interview.
He was another very competent interviewer, who also basically asked if I knew things that I was not sharing. I gave the same reply I had given Christina Hager: Reporters shouldn’t make something public that could affect an investigation, I said. To this day, I have yet to find a media person in agreement with my position.
I showed him where the Selectmen’s meeting room was, and I taped for HopNews as they taped for Fox, Chairman Eric Sonnett expressing condolences and asking for a moment of silence over the deaths of Rachel and Lillian prior to the official start of the town’s business. It was the first meeting of the town’s leaders since the killings. It was also the day of the wake for Rachel and Lillian Entwistle. And it was the day a reader emailed this:
“It might be interesting to those in your profession but you’re just not that much more important than the rest of us, and much less important than a lot of us.” Hmmm, rather stinging vitriol from coming from a stranger. Better watch my back a little more carefully.
HopNews did not go to Carver for the funeral the next day, but the Geraldo at Large show that was taped the week before aired that evening and showed the interview I appeared in, as well as the outside of the church at the funeral service during the segment.
That day, The Herald reported that Joseph Matterazzo had a gun collection. Perhaps they had sat on the information too, the same information I had, waiting to see if Neil Entwistle would arrive for the funeral.
Neil Entwistle did not attend the funeral of his wife and daughter. A HopNews poll prior to that day resulted in 63% believing that it would be a sign of Entwistle’s guilt if he did not make the services.
The next day, February 2, HopNews reported that Matterazzo took Entwistle shooting, but did so in a sub-headline, not looking for too much attention. There were some rumblings about HopNews having already gotten too much exposure, and the next day, some whacko posted from his work computer on the Discussion Page some stuff that was so nasty that it got me a bit shaken.
It made me recall the end of my first gig as a guitarist, nearly half of a lifetime ago, when a stranger came up and started kicking me, just missing a chronic and sensitive knee injury. The memory of John Lennon’s assassination was fresh in my mind then.
“You think I am just some lowly squaw, don’t you,” she said. I hadn’t even seen her past the spotlights.
But this latest post from someone hiding behind anonymity was a little too presumptuous, telling me that I said we withheld information because I was asserting "...a higher moral ground" that he apparently believed we didn't deserve. But alas, he was being presumptuous.
The reason I revealed we had held onto the information was because I had just spent a half hour chatting with a police officer and I didn't want his watching superior to think wrongly that the information I put up following the chat came from him.
One poster said, "One last thing, stay off TV.. you are embarrassing the town in capturing you [sic] 15 minutes of fame." He accused me of covering up the arrest of a police officer — no such thing happened — while he writes, "The editor picks and chooses the newsworthiness of stories and blatantly skips BIG stories." Like what, the Entwistle murders? This story was really bringing out the people from Lala Land.
On February 3, the office of Martha Coakley put out an update on the investigation, and complained of inaccurate information being spread by the media. Whew! Nothing we reported made her list. There would be no more press releases until six days later.
The CNN show, Anderson Cooper’s 360 Degrees (Transcript), interviewed me that day, and aired it that evening, using some excerpts from the interview with me in Hopkinton.
Rachel Entwistle’s Certificate of Death also became available at Town Hall on February 3, days after her daughter’s, because of a typo in the original. She was not pregnant, as many reporters had wondered.
The next day a Cubs Path neighbor visited the HopNews office for other business and confirmed that Neil had taken the family’s only vehicle, the one he left at Logan International Airport. But he knew his family was dead, according to the information from Source One, so why wouldn’t he take the only car?
In one of those remarkable and unbelievable coincidences that happens during extraordinary times, a reader called during the very few minutes while the neighbor was still there, and asked if I thought the neighbors would mind if she put flowers at the house.
I turned to the neighbor, who said she would not mind; so the reader did so.
On February 8, while HopNews was displaying photos of mallards, waxing gibbons and turkey vultures, Hopkinton Police Sgt. Joseph Bennett was swearing out an affidavit at Framingham District Court for an arrest warrant for Neil Entwistle, who was still in England.
She said that he took his father-in-law’s gun, killed his wife and baby, and then returned the gun to Carver and fled to England. Source One was right!
That night, Channel 7’s Jeff Glor reported on the 11:00 o’clock news that a source revealed that Neil Entwistle had told police, in his initial telephone conversation with them, that he had seen the bullet wounds on his wife and baby. Then, according to the source, Entwistle told police he went to Carver to talk to his in-laws, but they weren’t home, so he went to England to speak with his parents.
These were not facts that the District Attorney had shared with the public. It was the first time the public had heard the alleged details of Neil Entwistle's conversation with police. It was the last bit of information Source One had revealed to me, information I refused to make public. What would I do if there were ever a next time, I wondered?
The next day, Friday, a Framingham District Court Judge, over the objections of the prosecutor’s office, released the affidavit sworn by Sgt. Bennett, and promised to release more pertinent information. The following Monday, they made over 200 pages available.
But Neil Entwistle was not yet out of people‘s minds. He would be brought to Hopkinton one more time, passing through the police station where the crime was committed, to be fingerprinted and photographed.
Justice would begin in the town where the crime was committed.
Part V to come.
Note: People should not conclude anything extraordinary about the title of this story. A lot of people saw Neil Entwistle when he was in Hopkinton and/or Framingham. I was one of them.
At the end of this serial, the entire piece will be offered as one continuous story. ~ Robert
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