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Prosecutors use bathtub as courtroom prop in MacNeill murder trial

Published: Friday, Oct. 18 2013 11:10 a.m. MDT

Defense attorneys say the evidence in the case is circumstantial and that MacNeill was either at work or shuttling his daughters back and forth from school that morning, not at home. Based on a doctor’s evaluation, Michele MacNeill is believed to have died sometime between 11:24 a.m. and 12:24 p.m.

A 2007 autopsy by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Michele’s death as natural and as a result of heart disease, more specifically “chronic hypertension and myocarditis, which are capable of causing acute unexpected arrhythmia and sudden death.”

All three neighbors also said within days of Michele MacNeill’s death, her husband told them that doctors had concluded she had died from an arrhythmia.

“He just said it was some kind of heart thing,” Kristi Daniels said. “He said the doctor had called and made sure the family knew it was nobody’s fault.”

Also taking the stand Friday was Heidi Peterson, the dispatcher who talked to MacNeill when he called 911. She said dispatchers had trouble understanding the address that a frantic-sounding MacNeill gave for the home, but figured it out with the help of the dispatch computer system. MacNeill called 911 on a cellphone and twice either hung up or was disconnected after shouting that his wife was not breathing and he needed help.

Dressed in a suit and tie, MacNeill has appeared mostly expressionless during the trial so far. When prosecutors replayed the 911 call Friday, however, he appeared to tear up.

Testimony in the trial, which is scheduled for five weeks, is expected to resume on Tuesday.

Email: jldobner@gmail.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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