Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Entwistle Murder Trial – Day 8

~Elliot Weinstein and
Michael Fabbri

Bennett calls the next witness – Laura Bryant

Bryant is the DNA expert. She gives her job duties and CV. At the state crime lab she compares DNA evidence to known DNA. She is also a supervisor of the lab.

Bryant is the forensic scientist who analyzed the samples in the Entwistle case.

DNA can be deposited through skin cell, semen, hair with roots, etc.

A “mixture” is a sample that contains DNA from more than one person. A major profile will have a large amount of DNA from one individual; more so than anyone else in the mixture.

She explains how the lab protects from contaminating evidence: gloves, lab cost, cleaning surface with bleach, etc.

They have DNA standards from Joe Matterazzo, Michael Matterazzo, Anthony Matterazzo, Priscilla Matterazzo, Zachary Matterazzo, Joe Matterazzo, Jr, George Wilson, Lloyd Cooke, blood standard from Rachel, head hair standard from Lillian, swab from the gun handle.

Bryant is given the .22 colt and shows the jury that the handle has a rough surface which means depositing of DNA is fairly easy and that wiping the gun probably would not remove all DNA.

The gun contains DNA that did not come from the Matterazzos’ Wilson, Cooke, Rachel or Lillian.

The DNA profile from the Dasani water bottle –


Saliva sample from Neil Entwistle and the Dasani bottle were a confirmed match. There was a minor profile on the bottle that was unidentified.

The swab of the grip of the gun contained Entwistle’s DNA which matches standard!

The swab from the barrel area of the gun contained a mixed profile of DNA - the major profile on the muzzle of the gun was Rachel’s.


A swab from the gun’s trigger lock shows DNA from Entlwistle as the major contributor and two minor contributors.

Blood on pillow case number #4’ - profile is from Lilly.
Swab of ammo can latch and handle is a smooth surface – the profile they obtained indicates several profiles, but the major profile is Entwistle’s.

The swab from the gun cylinder matches Entwistle as major contributor with unidentified contributors.

The swabs from the bedroom walls – spots 1, 2 &3. The DNA matched Rachel’s profile.

Good lord, ain’t no way Weinstein can refute this testimony.

They go through a group of swabs that contained mixture DNA and could not yield a specific individual and/or excluded numerous individuals.


Bryant tested the inside, front and middle crotch area of Rachel’s underwear. The DNA was a mixture from Rachel and Entwistle. Major contributor consistent with Entwistle and minor contribution from Rachel.

Bryant tested the snippet of the back interior crotch of the underwear to obtain a full profile. DNA matched Entwistle as the major and Rachel as the minor contributors.

From the peri-anal swabs, Bryant found Entwistle’s DNA the major profile and Rachel as a minor contributor.

The vaginal swab tested showed the DNA of Rachel is the major profile and Entwistle as a minor.

The hair from the bed frame yielded no profile. The hair was probably too old to test.


Bryant produced a report table from all of her testing. The DNA charts from the report are going to be put up for the jury to see.

One chart has the exemplar profiles or known DNA samples.

Bryant compares the numbers to the evidence items.

This is all a re-hash of the verbal testimony she provided.

Bryant talks about major and minor contributors and profiles that can’t be positively tied to specific DNA exemplars.

Basically, we are pinning Entwistle’s DNA to numerous evidence items.

It’s meticulous and tedious. The court officers have just brought in pillows and blankies for the jurors...yawn.

Now a new chart is put up that is more condensed and is basically only tied to the gun and Entwistle’s DNA.

The profile on the barrel and muzzle swabs of the gun, match Rachel’s DNA.

Direct is done.

Cross - Weinstein

Weinstein mentions how the witness handled each evidence item by changing her gloves. This helps her insure she doesn’t contaminate the items.

She wasn’t so worried in the courtroom because there is not more testing to be done? She wasn’t sure, she did change her gloves.

Weinstein goes on to discuss collection techniques used in the field and other laboratory services in the field.

She was testing items such as swabs that someone else collected. She would know what items she was testing by reference numbers given in the field.

When she received the swab from the barrel, the proper technique would be to swab from area. Not necessarily.

If the laboratory collection person took a swab from one side of the gun, it would give you information that DNA was on that side of the gun? She would look at criminologist notes.

But you wouldn’t know from your direct knowledge? Correct.

Working just from the sample envelopes, you don’t know from direct knowledge from where the evidence was collected? Correct.

You would have to ask somebody else or ask somebody else? Yes, or check notes.

If she were told the swab was from the barrel AND the grip, she wouldn’t know where it came from.

If it was from inside and outside the muzzle, the only way to know where it came from would be to take two different swabbings.

There is a discussion of handler DNA and how DNA can be deposited on an item.

Direct deposit and indirect deposit of DNA. Weinstein is getting at the possibility that DNA on the gun was placed there indirectly.

Unless someone tells her how the DNA got on the item, she has no way to prove whether the DNA is a result of direct or indirect method.

Transfer DNA: When an object brushes against an object, there may be a transfer of DNA from one to another.

Essentially, she tests what she gets, regardless of how it was deposited on the item.

She can make comparison to see if there is a match, inclusion, or exclusion.

When she says a DNA profile is consistent with a known source, you don’t say it’s a direct match. If it’s a mixture, she can’t. She can say it could be.

Testing doesn’t say who handled the object last, longest, tightest, who pressed against it the longest.

She can’t say when the biological sample was deposited onto an item.

She doesn’t know the total number of items she tested. She counts them up. There were about 34, no somewhat less and compared them against the exemplars. She names the known individuals for whom she had exemplars.

The Federal Ammunition Box - her results were inconclusive in terms on Rachel and Neil Entwistle? No, only for Neil Entwistle.

Green Ammunition Can - no conclusive result for Rachel? No, she was excluded.

Green Metal Ammunition Can - minor profile yielded results that excluded people.

Swab from trigger lock - Inconclusive and excluding? Correct.

Three terms used with analyzing mixtures: Including, excluding, inconclusive.

Black gun case - swab from front locks and case. There was a mixture from at least 3 people. She included Rachel as a potential contributor? Yes.

And that’s the same way she described Rachel’s DNA from underpants and vaginal swab? Yes. When she analyzed that mixture from a cutting from the underwear.

He describes the DNA analysis from the underwear; you say she was included as a potential contributor. Rachel was a potential contributor on the sperm fraction on the minor profile.

The same is true for her own vaginal swab? No Rachel was a match for the major contributor.

That’s the same as for the gun case where she tested as a potential contributor? Vaginal swab was a match but she was a potential contributor on the gun case.


In regard to the gun case of the 11 people, how many could you exclude? 4.

What is a sperm fraction? They perform an extraction technique that is different. They add chemicals to break open the cells to release the DNA. The cells extracted are non-sperm cells. Harsher chemicals are added to extract the sperm fraction.

Is it unusual for a female to not be the major contributor to a sperm fraction? No.

Next witness – Debra Egan. She owns a florist shop in Plymouth. Her daughter Kelly works there also. She took a phone call on January 30th, from a younger British male. The person asked for orange roses or lilies. He wanted a single rose and lily in a bud vase. He asked what it would look like.

She also took an order for a funeral spray.

She took the information on the funeral, the order, payment method and a phone number, the message for the card to be included with the flowers.

On the 31st, there was an order for a funeral spray for Rachel and Lilly.

The flowers were delivered to the Shepard Funeral Home.

That’s all for the prosecution.

Cross - Page

In your business, you do a lot of funeral arrangements? Yes.

It’s not uncommon for people to call you on the phone? Yes.

Some people are emotionally upset? Yes.

Some people are very calm, trying to keep control? Yes.

Some people are fixed on the details with very specific instructions? Yes.

Discussion of which words could be capitalized? Yes.

It’s not unusual for orders for precise flowers? Yes.

Did you take credit card information? No, daughter Kelly.

The British person you spoke to on the 30th, you now know it was Neil Entwistle? Yes.

Next witness – Kelly Egan, Debra’s daughter. She took the info from Entwistle for what was to be written on the card.

January 30, she spoke with Entwistle about the order. He also ordered a second order of flowers. The message; “my Orange Rose and Lily for always…

The second order was a spray was pink and white flowers: To Rachel and our precious granddaughter…signed from Neil’s parents and his brother.

Entwistle called again on the 31st. He asked if the credit card went through ok and he wanted to place another order. A spray basket to Rachel and Lillian from all your friends in England…

Ok, I admit, I was crying a bit here.
Cross - Page

You spoke to Neil Entwistle and placed orders for two sets of flowers. Yes.

She places Neil’s note on the screen: He asked certain words capitalized, including For Always. Yes.

He then wanted to order another funeral arrangement? Yes.

It was from the rest of the family? Yes.

Page reads the text of the note. Kelly confirms as she reads.

When you spoke with Neil Entwistle the next day, he ordered another arrangement? Yes.

He ordered it for family friends? Yes.

He gave you his name? Yes.

He ordered on the same credit card? Yes.

He gave you phone numbers? Yes.

One was a number where you could reach him in England? Yes.

Next witness – Benjamin Prior, he is from London. He knows Neil from University, since 1998. They were on the rowing team. He, Dash Munding, Neil and Rachel were all good friends.

Prior says Neil and Rachel were a lot of fun to be with and they were a loving couple.

February 2006 he spoke Entwistle and Prior asked how he was. Entwistle sounded distressed. He asked to come spend a few days in London. Dash, Prior and Entwistle went out to dinner. They met to see how Neil was and if there was anything they could do to help him.

They talked about what went on that day. Neil said he went out the morning and he came home and found Rachel and Lilly dead. He got to the house at 11am. Entwistle said he was so distraught he went to the kitchen to get a knife to kill himself.

He told them he drove to his in-laws to get a gun but couldn’t get in.

Entwistle said he found his mother-in-law and they went to the in-laws house. They spoke to the State Police to tell them what he found.

He spoke with the police several times. They called Neil to tell him that they had found Rachel and Lilly. He was surprised that the police didn’t know he knew about the bodies.

He said he was isolated at the in-laws as they were consoling each other. So, he left and went to the only other place he really knew in the US; Logan Airport. Then he made the decision to fly home to his family.

They discussed his financial situation and he was struggling.

Neil told his friends that he BOUGHT the Hopkinton house with a 100% mortgage. He also told them they bought the BMW.

He said Rachel wanted all the money for the new house and the baby and they were struggling and living by credit cards mostly.

On Thursday the UK police called Prior. He then called Dash and Neil to let them know.

It was apparent to Prior that the police wanted to reach Entwistle right away.

Prior told Entwistle to return home right away on the train. The US police were anxious to know exactly where Neil was.

Cross - Weinstein

That Thursday morning call from the police was to ask if you knew where Neil was? Yes.

Come home? Yes.

Extradition? Yes.

Pass word to Dash? Yes.

Neil was with him? Yes.

You heard Neil’s response, “We’ll, I’d better get going.”

Last time he saw him he was at the Sudbury train station, ready to go home.

Home was where his parents were? Yes.

Talked to Neil at dinner with Dash in restaurant? Yes.

Media camped out on parents’ property? Yes.

He explained that’s why he went to London take pressure of media off family? Yes.

Talked again when they had dinner at his home? Yes.

He had concern for his family in Worksop? Yes.

Concerned about loss of Rachel and Lillian? Yes.

Never met Lily? Yes.

Weinstein goes back and reviews time they spent at university and hung out together, him, Rachel, Neil, Dash, Skinner? Yes.

They had good fun together? Yes.

You were the single guys and Neil was losing his bachelorhood? Yes.

You spent less time with him since he spent time with Rachel as a couple. Yes.

They moved in together? Not then, after university.

The relationship was more loving? Yes, they seemed very much a loving couple.

They became engaged, the bonds between the two of them were stronger? Yes, 2.4 children.

That’s the way HE viewed the relationship? Yes.

They got married? Yes.

They settled near London... further north.

You had contact with them? Yes.

The relationship was rock solid? Yes.

They moved to the US? Yes.

The next time you saw him was in February, 2006? Yes.

His world had changed? Yes.

Did he seem devastated? He seemed very uncomfortable.


Last time he saw them after college? A reunion.

How many times had he seen them together? Hadn’t.

Prior to Feb., when had he seen them? Late 2004, 2005.


When you saw him at dinner with Dash, he appeared to be totally devastated? Totally upset, playing with his wedding ring.

Next witness – Dashiel Munding another friend of Neil and Rachel. He’s known them since 1998 from University and the all rowed together.

He attended Rachel’s wedding in 2003.

They socialized once or twice a year after University. After the wedding he saw them once but they spoke by phone.

Neil called him in February 2006. Neil said he was at his parent’s home and the media was surrounding his house and asked if he could come to London and stay with him. Dash picked him up at the train station.

Over dinner with Neil and Prior, Neil told them that on the day Rachel and Lillian were found dead, he left the house around 9am and went shopping. He said when he left, he left the back door unlocked.

He didn’t buy anything and when he came home the door was still unlocked. He found Rachel and Lillian dead under a blanket.

Neil went to Matterazzo’s to make sure the guns were secure and none were missing.

He the said he drove to Priscilla’s office and called the police from there.

Neil left the office and drove for a while and then went to Logan so he could fly home to be comforted by his parents.

On the day of the funerals Neil said he went to the place where he proposed to Rachel.

One evening they went to the movies. The next day they got up around 7 or 8am. Neil said his father called and said the police were going to arrest him and he needed to go home.

Dash said he would drive him to the train, but Neil said no. They walked together to the tube. They said goodbye.

Dash received a call from Det. Sgt. Flood and Dash went back to the platform to talk to Neil. He told Neil about the call and asked him to return to the street to meet the police.

Neil said he didn’t want to speak to the police there and how could he get out of the station.

3 officers arrived. Dash then went home.

Nothing further.

Cross - Weinstein

This was a Thursday he last saw Neil about 9 AM.

Earlier that day Neil received a call from his father on his mobile phone.

His father saying that LE in Worksop were asking Neil to come back home, because they were going to arrest Neil there.

When he and Neil left, the purpose was for Neil to get back to Worksop, see his family, and be arrested after being with his family one more time.

It didn’t happen because a policeman, Mr. Flood called him and said they wanted to arrest Neil in London.

He left Neil at the tube station because it was Neil’s decision what to do.

Everything Neil communicated said that he knew he was going to be arrested, but wanted to go home first.

Neil was a quiet guy. He had a girlfriend who was more outgoing, vivacious.

He was more reserved that Rachel.

It was a little different in February because he was upset.

Next witness – Urooje Sheikh, Det. Constable from London. He’s in computer forensics. He gives his CV.

EnCase is a forensic tool used to image a computer. The forensic image takes a copy of the data on the computer. No changes are made to the original hard drive.

He took forensic images from 3 computers. RJP 3 and RJP4 were imaged and then he write blocked the drives so they couldn’t be altered.

Sheikh is handed the hard drive that he identifies. He turned it over to Det. Constable Richard Potter.

There is a process to protect and ensure a proper copy of the data onto the forensic image – he describes the process. There were no changes to the information on the drives.

In the UK you access goggle by typing www co.uk. That is done if you are purchasing something; it only brings up UK pages.

Nothing further and no cross.

Next witness – Lawrence James. He is employed as a police office with the city of Medford. He works the computer crime unit and does data forensic examinations.

Larcenies, homicides, child pornography, etc are the types of cases he has worked on.

In 2006, he was brought into the Entwistle case. He examined 3 computers and images from 3 other computers sent over from the UK.

He explains the same duplicate copy process and write block that Sheikh described.

He identifies a hard drive from a laptop and acknowledges he knows where the computer came from. Marked as evidence.

He identifies a laptop that he removed the hard drive from. It is marked for identification.

An MD5 hash (mathematical algorithm) is used in conjunction with an acquisition hash. When they match up it shows the data is transferred accurately.

He examined the different user names on the system – ent, internet and photos, contract.

The “ent” account had admin privileges and was password protected. “Contract” was the same. “Internet and photos” was a lesser account without password

The computer clock was set to the correct local time.

He describes how he processed the internet website access.

He recovered allocated and the unallocated files.

Bennett gives James a packet marked 3126 on the first page and the last is 3140. The pages contain the internet history. The full internet history is 16,000 pages.

Page 3126 has 3 sections. The top section indicates a visit 1/16 12:54 at goggle.com – How to kill with a knife

Page 3140 – google search – How to kill with a knife. The user is the “ent” account

Judge tells the jury they are the responsible for finding whether the defendant made the searches, it doesn’t show the defendant is a bad person. They may use the evidence for determining Neil and Rachel’s relationship, Neil’s state of mind.

Court adjourned and she reminds them tomorrow is a half day.

Whew, long day. The DNA evidence was quite damning and what's coming up with the computer evidence is going to blow the lid off things!

ritanata, thanks as always!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detailed and accurate coverage. I've been trying to keep up with the trial through newspaper accounts, but you know how incomplete and unreliable those things are. I'll certainly come here first from now on.