“Are you telling us you don't know any more about Michele's death?" Pead asked.
"That's correct,” Willis replied.
Willis’ mother, Vicki, also testified Tuesday, telling jurors her family was “giddy” over her daughter’s July engagement to MacNeill, calling his handsome good looks and credentials as both a doctor and lawyer “impressive.”
“We were pleased, of course. Who wouldn't be?" she said.
The elder Willis also said MacNeill had told her that he had loved his wife, but “like a sister, not like he loved Gypsy.”
Gypsy Willis and MacNeill are no longer involved and haven’t had any contact in more than three years, defense attorneys later said. As part of a three-year probation sentence that began in May 2011, Willis was ordered to have no contact with MacNeill or his extended family.
Also testifying for prosecutors on Tuesday were a trio of Michele MacNeill’s former friends, who said Martin MacNeill didn’t seem said on the day of her death and made a point of showing off remodeling work he’d done to the family home when they came there to express their condolences.
Linda Cluff, Michele’s younger sister, told the jury she was offended that MacNeill could be seen laughing with friends at a post-funeral luncheon.
“He was joking, saying he would have to get used to living the life of a bachelor," she testified.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Randall Spencer queried Cluff about a website she created — martinmacneill.info — that chronicles dozens of news stories about Michele’s death and the investigation into her husband.
Cluff said she launched the site for several reasons, including to gather information “in case there were more victims of any other crime” that her brother-in-law may have perpetrated.
“The investigation was slowing down,” a clearly uncomfortable Cluff tried to explain to deputy Utah County attorney Chad Grunander. “I wanted to have more coverage and to have information out there. It was a tool to get more information.”
At the end of the day, jurors watched a 52-minute recording of Ada MacNeill’s 2008 interview with a detective at the Utah County Children’s Justice Center. On the recording, an elfin Ada described coming home from kindergarten that day and calling out to her mother, before running to the bathroom where she found her in the tub.
“She was just laying down,” Ada said on the tape, twisting a Rubik's Cube as she was questioned.
In a voice just above a whisper, the blond-haired girl said she recalled seeing her mother dressed in a blue jacket and pants and that the water in the tub was “brown.”
“He was screaming, 'Quick, help. Go next door and get somebody,'” Ada said of her father.
Defense attorneys had sought to prevent the jury from hearing any live testimony from the girl, claiming her account of events has so altered over time that they believe she had been coached by her older sister, Alexis, who is now her guardian.
Pullan agreed, but allowed the 2008 interview and ruled that the youngest MacNeill child, who was 6 when she discovered her mother dead, could be cross-examined by the defense.
Spencer declined to question the girl on Tuesday.
“She doesn’t have a credible memory to question,” he told reporters after the hearing. “It’s pointless to try.”
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