Monday, June 30, 2008

"Life" for Neil Entwistle Means Death in Prison (One Way or Another)

by Michele McPhee

SHIRLEY, MASSACHUSETTS—Within weeks of his arrest, Neil Entwistle suffered a kick to the stomach so swift and brutally hard, the Englishman crumpled to the ground and whimpered. The man who delivered the blow, a fellow inmate, continued to shout “Baby Killer!” as correction officers restrained him.

Correction officers in Massachusetts are now charged with making sure that those kinds of attacks on Entwistle do not become a daily occurrence as he begins his prison sentence. Last week, Entwistle was convicted of killing his 27-year-old wife, Rachel, and his baby daughter, Lillian Rose, 9 months. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The bodies of the infant and her mother were found nestled alongside each other in the family’s rented Massachusetts home on January 20, 2006.

"It’s our intent to protect him as we protect any inmate. We’re not going to treat him special, but we’ll insure that he gets equal protection like every other murderer and rapist,’’ said Steve Kenneway, President of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union. “We are trained to overlook the crime. Our job is not to judge the inmate. Our job is to keep them safe and protect society from them.

“I won’t, however, speak for the inmate population–which is why he will probably be housed away from them,’’ Kenneway said. “People convicted of crimes against children are very, very difficult to protect from the inmate population.’’

Because of the notorious and high-profile nature of his crime, Entwistle was moved last Friday to the special management unit, a segregated section of the maximum-security prison at Souza-Baranowski, by Massachusetts Department of Correction Officials. He was issued a pair of red scrubs with the letters DOC emblazoned on the back and was brought into the unit with handcuffs and shackles early Friday morning, prison officials said.

A correction officer will be assigned to monitor Entwistle, who has threatened suicide twice since his arrest two and a half years ago, around the clock. The isolation can provoke some inmates to find ways to commit suicide. In 2005, Andrew Armstrong, a convict serving time for a brutal home invasion, was found hung in the very cell where Entwistle was assigned on Friday, prison sources said.

That cell is 7-feet-by-13-feet with a steel toilet and sink; a bed steel-mounted to the wall, just shy of his height. Entwistle was issued state-owned sheets, a pillow, and a blanket. The cell has a metal footlocker; a desk; and stool and one metal shelf hanging on the wall. He will be completely isolated with no contact with the general population at the prison, said Cara Savelli, a spokeswoman for the DOC.

Each of his meals costs Massachusetts taxpayers $1.42 a day and taste like “the worst school cafeteria grub you can think of,’’ said convicted drug dealer Jimmy Connors, who was recently released from the prison and spent time in the special management unit.

“They have to keep him away from everyone. Everyone knows who Neil Entwistle is. He’s the coward who killed his own baby,’’ Connors said of Entwistle. “Baby killers, child molesters, are tortured in there.”

One of those child molesters in fact was murdered in the unit where Entwistle is now. Pedophile Roman Catholic priest Thomas Geoghan, 68, was strangled to death by a fellow inmate in a segregation unit at the prison nicknamed “The Shoe") in 2003. Geoghan’s killer was a homicidal maniac named Joseph Druce who confessed his hatred for child molesters. In a bizarre, macabre security video he was captured re-enacting the priest’s murder.

“I did it to save the kids,’’ Druce told investigators after the slaying, which occurred on August 23, 2003. Roughly 150 children claim they were molested by Geoghan during his 30-year career in six Catholic parishes.

In the video pantomime of the priest’s slaying, the clip starts with Druce standing in a cell naked but for white boxer shorts, his sinewy body scrawled with crude jailhouse tattoos. His pock-marked face is covered with a scraggly brown beard as he talks to himself in a mirror.

He then re-enacts the murder. He jammed the door of Geoghan’s cell with a paperback book so correction officers could not stop him. He punched the priest in the face. The priest fell to his knees at which point Druce (pictured left) bound his hands behind his back with a white T-shirt. Druce pushed the priest to the floor, face down and proceeded to strangle him with a tube-sock tourniquet that he tightened with the priest’s own sneaker.

As the priest slowly suffocated, Druce then climbed onto the steel-mounted bed and jumped on the elderly man’s back, stomping him three times. The video simulation mirrors what prosecutors have described in the slaying. An autopsy showed Geoghan's cause of death to be ligature strangulation and blunt chest trauma; broken ribs and a punctured lung.

It’s a brutal act, and one that prison officials say they do not want to see repeated on Neil Entwistle. The 29-year-old Worksop native will spend the rest of his life behind bars trying to avoid attacks like the one that killed the pedophile priest, which led to accusations that correction officers were complicit in Geoghan’s murder. Several correction officers were suspended from their jobs after Geoghan’s slaying.

Of course, Entwistle is not the only man serving life in a Massachusetts prison for killing his own child. There is an official tax-exempt organization called Lifers Group Inc. in the prison system comprised of a bloody fraternity of the state’s most notorious killers who advocate for convicts' rights and petition lawmakers for special protections. The leader of the group, Kenneth Seguin, is serving life in prison for slitting the throats of his two children before plunging their bodies into a pond. After that gruesome murder, he went home and buried an ax into his wife’s head. Another Lifers Group leader is Gordon Haas, a former department store manager who smothered his wife and two small children to death with plastic bags.

“Neil Entwistle will be among his peers in jail,’’ said a correction officer assigned to the prison. That officer declined to be named. “Guys like this really make us sick, but we are paid to protect them.”


Leah said...

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a prison guard, day after day for 20 and 30 years. And I cannot imagine a less gratifying or a more depressing profession.

Paralegal Sandy said...

What a horrible, horrible waste. Look at that sweet baby. That young mother with hopes and dreams of a life time ahead of her. Even him, a nice clean cut looking guy with his whole life ahead of him. What are these people thinking? Are they possessed by Satan? Or did God put a glitch in their brain when he made them? Do they even have a brain? How could he hurt his own child? And a baby at that. I’ve been reading about this stuff for way too many years now and I just can not understand. None of it makes any sense.

I remember the day I went into work and saw on the front page of our local paper where a man took his 3 month old baby hostage, and proceeded to take the baby by it’s legs and bash it’s head on the concrete. I remember that day I had to read it several times. My brain just wouldn’t accept that another human being would, could actually do that to his own flesh and blood. I just don’t get it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone gives their heart to another person, then that person turns on that person and betrays them and their trust in the most horrific way. What is this world coming to?

I was saying just the other day that perhaps the answer is to put all the murderers in a cell together and let them have at each other. At least that would cut down on over crowding and tax payers prison expense.

cheryl said...

"Guys like this really make us sick but we are paid to protect them".

OOPS! Musta not been looking when you should have, eh, Mr. Corrections Officer?

This just may be the story within the next few years.

TxMichelle said...

I do find it interesting that mureders still feel the need to differentiate themselves from other murderers.
That they feel raping and killing a woman puts them above those that rape and kill a child.
I wonder if they feel this way about child molesters/killers because a large majority of people in prison were abused physically and mentally. It leads me to believe they have a sense of justice in that regard because they have an inkling that maybe they would have been something different if not for their own upbringing.

Anonymous said...

Terrific article & follow-up!

Leah said...

I have always thought that too Michelle, about prisoners have a "pecking order". I think that where men are concerned, it they weren't abused themselves, their mother's, sister's, etc were.

Rebecca said...

"Guys like this really make us sick but we are paid to protect them".

OOPS! Musta not been looking when you should have, eh, Mr. Corrections Officer?

This just may be the story within the next few years.

How dare you. I'd like to see you spend a day on the job. You and your SNARKY little mouth would probably run away in tears.

Anonymous said...

i have three children whom i love more than life itself..i would never hurt my babies, i feel bad when i have to tell them no. and this monster took this beautiful child's life. all i want to know is WHY!!!! i cant wrap my brain around this, i am usually a kind giving person but i hope that there will come a day when those guards that are "paid to protect" him arent looking and he gets what he deserves, boy neil entwistle should be glad im not the prison guard "assigned" to protect him because i'd be constantly looking the other way. the only comfort if any to be found is that mommy and baby are together in heaven as they should've been here on in peace rachel and baby heart and prayers go out to your families..

Anonymous said...

He will face a gruesome death at the hand's of other inmates. That is for sure. If the CO's ever take their eyes off him for a minute, someone will shank him or beat the snot out of him.

I was locked up for a bit and saw skinners and diddler's beaten up at every turn. If they are lucky enough to make it off the block outside a body bag, they are lucky. Prisoners have a ZERO tolerance on pedophiles, diddlers and skinners (rapists). They get out or they are taken out.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Entwistle was unhappy. I know we were friends, well we had been having anaffair while in England. She hated that baby told me she wish she never had "it".