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The lawyer for a man accused of killing his wife, two children and mother-in-law in their Winchester home told a judge Friday that the defendant's mental health will be a focus of his case and asked the judge to approve a psychiatric evaluation.
Thomas Mortimer IV, prosecutors say, wrote two identical letters found in the home that read: "I did these horrible things. What I've done was extremely selfish and cowardly. I murdered my family"
Not-guilty pleas to four charges of first-degree murder were entered for the 43-year-old Mortimer at a brief arraignment Friday morning. He was ordered held without bail.
Defense attorney Denise Regan told the judge it was "likely that mental health will be a live issue" in the case.
Prosecutors released no new details at the brief proceeding, for which Mortimer appeared in a gray suit and white shirt.
Mortimer's parents attended the hearing. Afterward, his father, Thomas Mortimer, of Avon. Conn., told reporters his son is "a good kid."
District Attorney Gerard Leone has said the "brutal and unspeakable" slayings followed a fight and "ongoing marital discord."
Mortimer was captured Thursday by police in northwestern Massachusetts. The day before, authorities were summoned to the family's home in Winchester by a relative who could not reach them.
Police officers found carnage: The bloodied body of Mortimer's 41-year-old wife, Laura Stone Mortimer, and their son, Thomas Mortimer V, were in the front hallway. Not far away, the lifeless body of Mortimer's mother-in-law, Ellen Stone, was under an oriental rug.
And upstairs, at the end of a trail of blood, was the body of Mortimer's 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte Mortimer, in her crib.
All appeared to have been killed by blunt trauma and sharp objects, prosecutors said.
Leone said there were signs Mortimer had attempted suicide before he fled the home, in an upper middle-class suburb north of Boston.
Leone said the slayings appeared to have taken place between late Monday and early Tuesday, the day Mortimer called in sick to work and called his son's school to say he wouldn't be in.
Leone said Mortimer's wife's sister, Debra Stone, tried to call her Tuesday but he answered her cell phone, which was unusual.
Mortimer told Stone, "It's going to be a while before she can get back to you," Leone said.
Mortimer had recently landed a job at M&R Consultants Corp., a Burlington technology consulting firm, after several months of unemployment, said Anil Shah, the company's president.
Mortimer had left a message for his supervisor around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to say he wasn't feeling well and wouldn't be at work, Shah said. About two hours later, Mortimer told a co-worker he had been up sick all night and would be back at work on Wednesday, Shah said.
This program aired on June 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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