Inmate accused of assaulting British suspect in murder of wife and child

A jail inmate pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he assaulted a British man charged with killing his wife and infant daughter.

Eben Howard, 33, was charged with one count of assault and battery for the alleged assault at Middlesex County jail on Dec. 20, the night before Neil Entwistle was transferred to Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after showing signs of depression.

"It's an incident in which he's alleged to kick Mr. Entwistle in the abdomen," said Corey Welford, spokesman for the Middlesex district attorney's office.

They were outside their cells at the time, Welford said. He did not know the circumstances of the alleged attack.

Howard faces murder charges in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where in May 2003 he allegedly strangled the boyfriend of his ex-wife. He was in custody in Cambridge on separate charges of assault, Welford said.

Entwistle, 28, apparently was not seriously injured. He was transferred the next day for a psychiatric evaluation, which eventually determined he is not suicidal.

Jail officials sought the evaluation after they found a letter Entwistle had written to his parents in England. The letter said he had nothing to live for and that if he died, he wanted his ashes scattered over the graves of his wife and daughter.

The bodies of Rachel Entwistle, 28, and 9-month-old Lillian were found in the master bedroom of the family's rented home in Hopkinton, on Jan. 20, 2006.

Entwistle flew to his native England, where he was arrested three weeks later.

Prosecutors have said in court records they believe Entwistle killed his wife and daughter because the family was deep in debt and to hide a secret life of online business scams and pornography, reports AP.

Entwistle's lawyer, Elliot M. Weinstein, did not immediately return a call to comment.

A trial is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Howard is being held without bail. Prior to this charge, he was charged with assault and a civil rights violation, Welford said.

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