Family members stare down Pleasant Grove doctor charged with murdering wife

Published: Monday, Aug. 27 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

MacNeill had worked as a doctor and had a law degree, both of which police believe he used "to commit the murder and frustrate the investigation in an attempt to cover it up," the court documents state. It was also evident to prosecutors that in the months before and after Michele MacNeill's April 11, 2007, death, MacNeill "had a strong motive to kill his wife."

In the weeks before her death, MacNeill's wife and daughters had become increasingly suspicious and aware of an affair he was having with Gypsy Willis, the charges state.

"Gypsy's former roommate indicates Gypsy made statements about killing Michele and even discussed specific methods of making it look like an accident," the charges state. Shortly after Michele MacNeill died, Willis moved into the family home under the guise that she was the children's nanny.

Both MacNeill and Willis were later convicted of fraud-related crimes in federal and state court. MacNeill, a former clinical director of the Utah State Developmental Center, was released from a Texas federal prison July 6 after serving a three-year sentence for fraud, forgery and identity theft. 

MacNeill's daughters and other family members had expressed concerns for their safety when he was released and he returned to his Pleasant Grove home. The Deseret News first reported about the investigation in an in-depth report published in December of 2010.

Michele MacNeill had plastic surgery eight days before she died. Her husband "used the surgery and recovery period to obtain the necessary drugs and set in motion the circumstances to intentionally or knowingly cause Michele's death and conceal his involvement," court documents state.

Two days after the surgery, Michele MacNeill told her daughter Alexis: "If anything happens to me, make sure it wasn't your dad" and then cried, charges state. She was found dead in the bathtub 24 hours after her daughter left town to go back to medical school.

MacNeill was arrested and charged Friday with murder, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. He remained in the Utah County Jail Monday in lieu of a $1 million cash-only bail.

Prosecutors said they filed the obstruction charge because MacNeill allegedly removed his wife's pants, lied to a 911 operator about performing CPR, drained the tub where his wife was found, and lied about the position of her body to the medical examiner and others. The day of the death, MacNeill also convinced his son's girlfriend to throw away the remaining drugs that had been prescribed to his wife, the charges state.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

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