Martin MacNeill Guilty in the Murder of Wife, Michele

The Case Against Dr. Martin MacNeill

Prosecutors painted Martin MacNeill, the former Mormon Sunday school teacher, as a liar who was hell-bent on making his wife have a facelift so he could poison her with a lethal cocktail of drugs during her recovery. The jury is also expected to hear from MacNeill’s alleged mistress, who moved into the family’s home as a nanny weeks after Michele MacNeill’s death.

A jury of eight people in Provo, Utah, decided the doctor’s fate in the trial that lasted 22 days and pit MacNeill against his daughters, who were the star witnesses for the prosecution.

One of them was Ada MacNeill, now 12 years old. Two of MacNeill’s other daughters, Alexis Somers and Rachel MacNeill, are also expected to take the stand. Both had consistently been a presence in the courtroom during pre-trial hearings, often clutching pictures of their mother as they glared at their father.

“He had a plan to murder my mother, and this was just part of his plan,” Somers told ABC News in 2012. “A few days before her death, I was helping her wash her hair and she turned to me and said, ‘Alex, if anything happens to me, make sure it was not your father'”
While caring for her mother after the surgery, Somers said, her mother made an ominous statement.

Defense counsel consistently pointed out the inconsistencies in the accounts given by Alexis Somers over the years, noting “the evolution of (her) stories”.

The jury also heard heard from MacNeill’s alleged mistress, who moved into the family’s home as a nanny weeks after Michele MacNeill’s death.

The motive, prosecutors said, was a woman named Gypsy Willis, who MacNeill had met online more than a year and a half before he allegedly killed his wife, Michele MacNeill, in April 2007.

Days after MacNeill’s facelift surgery, she was found by her 6-year-old daughter slumped over in a bathtub. Less than two hours later, the mother of eight and former beauty queen was pronounced dead.

Martin MacNeill also served three years in a Texas federal prison for fraud and was released in July 2012.

Martin MacNeill Convicted of Murder, Obstruction

Martin MacNeill was found guilty on an early Saturday morning, November9th, 2013, around 2:00 am EST, after roughly 9 hours of deliberations by a Provo, Utah jury.  Defense attorney Randall (“Randy”) Spencer argued that there were no hard facts, and that three previous medical examiners — including the original M.E. Dr. Maureen Frikke, who is now deceased, could not determine that homicide was the cause of death.  Additionally, Spencer noted that the entire case was circumstantial, and to believe in MacNeill’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you’d have to believe to totality of the circumstantial testimony.  But Spencer pointed out that stories of the MacNeill daughters consistently “evolved” over the course of the last 6 years, and could not be trusted.

There’s not evidence in this case that rises to the level of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution has presented to you their cherry-picked versions of the evidence that is most consistent with their theories.Defense Attorney Randy Spencer

I personally found it strange that Prosecutor Chad Grundander was allowed to tell the jury to ignore the testimony of the M.E.s. M.E.s are the only professionals qualified to proffer testimony with a degree of medical certainty. Grunander argued that the jury should disregard that the M.E.s couldn’t find the cause of death as a homicide, and to decide for themselves if it was a homicide.
Prosecutor Chad Grunander said that Martin MacNeill had the motive in his pursuit of an affair with Gypsy Willis, the means, as he was a doctor and had access to a variety of drugs following the facelift of Michele MacNeill, and the opportunity.

Grunander argued that the testimony of the MacNeill daughters in conjunction with the testimony of three jailed inmates where MacNeill allegedly tacitly confessed to the killing was too much circumstantial evidence to ignore.  Additionally, Grunander argued that the types of drugs and amounts of drugs were administered by MacNeill in a manner he knew would render her unconscious, a least.

Martin MacNeill murdered his wife, Michele. Her death was not the result of an accident, and it certainly was not the result of a heart condition. The defendant carried out a cold and calculated plan to murder his wife. He relied on his knowledge and experience as a doctor and also as a lawyer to accomplish this.Prosecuting Attorney Chad Grunander

The Sentencing for #MartinMacNeill set for January 7th, 2014 at 1:00; sentence carries 15 to life. Shockingly, the judge decided to CONTINUE his bail for $1,000,000 cash, so oddly, MacNeill could still bail out if he has the money — which is rare after a conviction of anything, especially murder.

Below are pictures from the trial.


Case Information

Videos from Dateline and From Jury Deliberations

Dateline video of the Martin MacNeill story:

The jury's first question during deliberations (8:17)

The jury's second question, basically asking the judge if they could continue deliberating (5:18)

And finally, the nerve-wracking verdict -- from silence to emotion (10:49)

As always, leave your thoughts and comment(s) below.

Jason Weber
Founder of Occupy HLN. Hockey player-turned-professional. Graduate of Cornell University's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management '97. Sports fanatic, enjoy networking, and keeping up with current events. Technocrat, Schema, SEO, blogaholic, social media contributor, Stack Exchange contributor, and keeping up with G's daily algorithmic alterations.
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