Martin MacNeill: Was his wife Michele's death accidental or was it murder?

Published: Saturday, Dec. 4 2010 3:00 p.m. MST

"There is probable cause to believe that Martin MacNeill had the opportunity, the motive, the psychological disposition, and based on his lifestyle … the capability of killing his wife, Michele MacNeill, which I believe he did on the morning of April 11, 2007," Witney wrote in a search warrant affidavit used to confiscate Martin's computers, cell phones and camcorder.

Their investigation has unraveled what they call "years of lies and deception" by Martin.

History of lies

Investigators traced Martin's first lie back to when he got into the military at age 17.

He was put on disability leave two years later when a medical officer deemed him a "latent schizophrenic" with "other mental and psychological infirmities," according to documents Utah County investigators obtained in their research.

Rachel and Alexis never saw signs of schizophrenia in their father and they do not believe he ever had such tendencies.

Witney and even U.S. District Judge Dee Benson questioned whether or not Martin's schizophrenia was real.

But Martin had been receiving Veteran's Administration and Social Security benefits for his alleged disability — even after he became a doctor and a lawyer with a six-figure income.

He had been receiving VA benefits up until January 2010, Alexis said.

In 1977, after he was caught forging checks, Martin unsuccessfully tried to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and even told the psychiatrist he heard voices: "The patient before has gotten into trouble with the authorities due to his desire to kill people at the command of voices," a psychiatric report states.

But the examiner deemed him mentally fit to stand trial.

Within a couple of years after being charged with his first few felonies, Martin falsified transcripts with inflated grades and lied on applications to get into two different medical schools — and later to BYU Law School, according to documents obtained by the Utah County Attorney's Office.

Investigators found records indicating that Martin graduated from Saint Martin's University in Washington in psychology and sociology, but 65 of the credits he attained were supposedly from the Army's extension program and their validity has been questioned, Robinson said.

Cluff said she remembers finding a Saint Martin's seal and St. Martin's stationery in the back of her mom's car. Cluff and her mom made an impression of the seal because they were not sure what it was or if it would prove to be important later on.

It did, and helped investigators figure out that Martin falsified his Saint Martin's transcripts to get him into medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, while he was still on probation from his felony charges in 1978.

After one semester in Mexico and while still on probation, Robinson said, Martin transferred to Western University of Health Sciences in California with his previous falsified transcripts, which also stated that he had been at the Guadalajara medical school for a full year.

The same year he transferred, he had an interview with the Army to check up on his disability leave, during which he allegedly told the examiner that he had not been working or attending school. Robinson said that made him eligible for 50 percent disability pay from the Veterans Administration and he later received 100 percent pay.

Martin also managed to receive 100 percent pay from Social Security.

Three years later, Martin received a license to practice as an osteopathic physician and surgeon in Utah.

He started working part time for the BYU Health Center, but failed to disclose that he had a diagnosed psychological disorder and had been convicted of felonies.

His work at BYU was punctuated by accusations of rape, complaints of unprofessional conduct and misdiagnosis. He was terminated in 1999 for undisclosed reasons.

"It is amazing story about how he got from one place to another through lies," Robinson said. "Whenever you can become a doctor and an attorney based on lies, that is an amazing thing."

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