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MONDAY, MAY 04, 2015

Posts Tagged ‘Martin MacNeill’

Martin Macneil
The mistress of a Utah doctor accused of killing his wife testified today

that their affair was “casual,” despite the fact that prosecutors allege she

and the doctor exchanged 15 text messages on the day his wife was found

lifeless in a bathtub.

Gypsy Willis said she met Dr. Martin MacNeill, a married father of eight

children, online around November 2005, however their relationship did

not turn sexual until January 2006, she said.

“We would see each other about a couple times a month. There were

months when we didn’t see each other. It was a very casual thing,” said

Willis, who wore a tight blazer over a low-cut camisole while on the stand

in the Provo, Utah, courtroom.

Willis testified that MacNeill, 57, helped her financially during nursing

school around February 2007.

Prosecutors allege MacNeill drugged and drowned his wife, Michele Mac-

Neill, 50, on April 11, 2007, so he could pursue a relationship with Willis.

“This was a very informal, discreet thing,” Willis said of her relationship

with MacNeill. “I think he was trying to keep it quiet.”

Prosecutors allege the relationship moved full-speed ahead and that

phone records indicated the couple exchanged text messages during

Michele MacNeill’s funeral, which they both attended.

Willis’ testimony lasted for about an hour before the judge broke for the

weekend. She will return to the stand when the trial resumes on Tues-


Judge Derek Pullan said this morning that Ada MacNeill, who was 6

years old when she found her mother unconscious in a bathtub, will

be allowed to testify at her father’s trial, but with some caveats.

Ada, who is now 12, may have some memories that are “planted or dis-

torted,” Pullan said.

Since her mother’s death, Ada has been living with her older sister,

Alexis Somers, who testified on Thursday that she was asked by investi-

gators to follow up on some details with her Ada.

“There is clear and convincing evidence that some of Ada’s memories

were planted or distorted by Alexis’ repeated interviews,” Pullan said.

While no new testimony will be allowed, jurors will be shown a record-

ing of Ada’s interview with the Children’s Justice Center and then she

will take the stand to be cross-examined by her father’s defense team.

“There has been a significant lapse of time between then and now,”

Pullan said. “The degree of her recollection is not stellar.”

It was not immediately known when Ada MacNeill would take the stand.

On Thursday, her two older sisters, Alexis Somers and Rachel MacNeill,

provided emotional testimony about their father’s perceived strange

behavior after their mother died.

The day his wife died, Dr. Martin MacNeill insisted on telling Rachel

MacNeill how her mother ended up in a bathtub unconscious, even

though she said she asked him to not tell her the details.

Rachel MacNeill wiped away tears, and her voice quivered at times, as

she testified Thursday at her father’s murder trial in Provo, Utah.

“He said that she must have fallen, hit her head,” Rachel MacNeill said.

“He kept repeating that the autopsy needed to be done. I didn’t want to

see any of this. My mother just died, and even showing me and talking

about [the] autopsy. … It was horrible. I didn’t want to know and I was

concerned about my family. I didn’t want to hear that.”

MacNeill kept his head down for part of his daughter’s testimony as she

described her close relationship with him while growing up, even call-

ing him her “best friend.”

Somers testified that she believed her father was guilty of drugging and

drowning her mother as she recovered from plastic surgery. “Ever since

the day my mom died, I was concerned that my father killed her. I’ve

been fighting to get justice for this case ever since then,” Somers testi-


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The daughters of a doctor now facing murder charges in the death of his wife say they always

knew their father had a plan to kill their mother and are “happy” he has finally been arrested.

Police arrested Martin MacNeill, 56, on Friday and booked him into the Utah County Jail for

first degree murder. The doctor and former Mormon Sunday school teacher served three

years in a Texas federal prison for fraud and was released in July.  An initial autopsy report

stated that Michele MacNeill, 50, had died of natural causes in April 2007, but authorities

now believe Martin MacNeill drugged and drowned his wife, who was found unconscious

in the bathtub.  MacNeill’s daughter, Alexis Somers, had long fought for police to reopen

the case, believing her father was responsible for her mother’s death. Somers and her

sister, Rachel MacNeill, had led the charge against the man they once called dad.  “We

know he’s guilty. We know he’ll harm again. If he’s let out he will come after us,” said

Rachel MacNeill. Somers said she was “so happy” and had waited “so long” for her

father to be held accountable.  “It’s horrible to be happy about the arrest of your father,

but finally he is being held accountable for murdering my mother,” she said.  It’s a

twisted family tale that began when Martin MacNeill, a father of seven, turned 50. His

daughters said he became obsessed with his looks and started to tan and exercise. Their

mother began to suspect an affair. Then, MacNeill focused on his wife’s looks, insisting

she get a face-lift.  “He had a plan to murder my mother, and this was just part of his plan,”

said Somers.  While caring for her mother after the surgery, Somers said she heard a

bombshell just days before her mother died. “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,’” said Somers.  On the day Michele MacNeill died, Martin

MacNeill had arrived home after picking up his then 6-year-old daughter from school.

They found Michele in the bathtub.  In a series of screaming 911 calls, Martin McNeill

hung up on the operator three times in five minutes. During that time, prosecutors say

he removed his wife’s pants, lied to the dispatcher about performing CPR and gave the

wrong address of his residence, further delaying emergency responders.  Michele Mac-

Neill’s autopsy initially concluded that she died of natural causes. Later, investigators

changed the cause of death to “Undetermined,” saying new information raised “suspicion,”

including the possibility that the combination of drugs in her body could have killed her

and she may have been forced to take them.  Prosecutors now believe MacNeill gave his

wife a dangerous combination of valium, Percocet and Ambien.  A search warrant filed last

year lays out the seemingly perfect motive: MacNeill’s alleged affair with Gypsy Willis, who

moved into the family’s home as a “nanny” two weeks after Michele’s death. The warrant

alleges that MacNeill “intentionally overdosed” his wife after she had plastic surgery be-

cause she approached him about the alleged affair. Somers vividly recalls the day her father

called to inform her of her mother’s death.  “When my father called I knew he’d killed her,”

Somers told ABC News. “I just started screaming he killed her. I knew it.”  MacNeill’s attor-

ney, Randy Spencer, said MacNeill “continues to adamantly deny that he killed his wife,

and is confident the truth will set him free.”  “My father planned and orchestrated my

mother’s death, and he thought he could get away with it,” said Somers.

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A Utah doctor recently freed from a federal prison in Texas where he was serving time

for fraud has been charged with killing his wife.

The Deseret News reports 56-year-old Martin MacNeill was arrested Friday and booked

into the Utah County Jail.  MacNeill faces murder and obstruction of justice charges.

Investigators have long thought MacNeill killed his wife in April 2007, then covered it up

— charges the doctor has denied. Martin MacNeill’s attorney, Randy Spencer, said Friday

it doesn’t appear the county has any new evidence, and his client will fight the charges.

Michele MacNeill’s body was found in a bathtub in the couple’s Pleasant Grove home.

An autopsy indicated she died of natural causes, but a 2010 addendum to that report

questioned the manner of death. Authorities now say they believe Michele MacNeill was

drugged by her husband.

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