Martin MacNeill committed an 'almost perfect murder,' prosecutor tells jury
Jury deliberated very late into the night
“Martin’s secret life with Gypsy Willis was beginning to intersect with Michele,” Grunander said. “He was going to have to make a choice.”
Within weeks, Michele MacNeill was dead.
Martin MacNeill exhibited a host of weird behaviors and made a string of odd statements that when combined show he was acting to cover up his wife’s murder, Grunander said.
He forced his wife’s facelift, but raged before neighbors and emergency personnel after her death that she didn’t need it. He offered a doctor $10,000 to keep resuscitating the already dead woman, instructed his son to flush her medications down the toilet, insisted on an autopsy and worried out loud about whether the police might investigate.
But among the most damning pieces of evidence in the prosecution's view is the falsified military identification application that Martin MacNeill sought for Willis — a document that also got both of them prosecuted federally for identity theft. The document, Grunander noted, heartlessly listed April 14, 2007, the date of Michele MacNeill's funeral, as the new couple's fake wedding date.
“That is nothing short of an admission of guilt. That screams to you about what happened on April 11, 2007,” Grunander said. “The defendant may have well as had said in his application: ‘I murdered Michele.’”
Spencer contends Martin MacNeill was living an “alternative lifestyle,” maintaining the appearance of a perfect family life while keeping Willis on the side. But however odd and eccentric his behavior or personality may be, Martin MacNeill is not a killer and the circumstances of the case don’t add up to murder, Spencer countered in his 90-minute closing argument.
As proof, Spencer hung much of his closing on conflicting medical testimony, lab results that he said show the drugs in Michele MacNeill’s system were not at significant levels and statements from Martin MacNeill's daughters that have changed over time.
Similarly, jurors can’t really rely on testimony from five inmates who had something to gain by serving as snitches for authorities, he said. And if Martin MacNeill were trying to hide a crime, Spencer wondered out loud: Why tell a fellow inmate?
“It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Spencer argued that the most salient piece of evidence in the case is the frantic 911 call Martin MacNeill made to get help for his wife.
"He was hysterical. He was seeking help. He wanted the 911 operator to send an ambulance,” Spencer said.
Grunander acknowledged that much of the case is built on a “mountain of circumstantial evidence,” but he reminded jurors that they also had heard direct evidence from prison inmates who testified that Martin MacNeill told them he had killed his wife by drugging her, getting her into the tub and “holding her head under water to help her out.”
“There is more than enough evidence to convict,” Grunander said. "He is guilty of murder and obstruction of justice. It’s been almost seven years since Michele’s death. It is time for the truth to come out.”
- 2 homes, 3 other buildings damaged in...
- How new technology is reshaping pacemakers
- Utah crafting rules for spending on water,...
- Utah city condemns Confederate flag display...
- Another first: Utah caretaker contracts Zika...
- Why Pioneer Day is so important to Utahns
- Herbert signs bills for Fairpark arena funds,...
- Police answering welfare call find woman...
- Utah delegates finally stand and cheer... 93
- Utah GOP delegates finally fired up... 74
- Friction over Trump between GOP, Utah... 64
- The day after: Lee defends Cruz at GOP... 29
- Should mountain biking be allowed in... 23
- Prosecutor rails on DOJ handling of... 18
- Local government board fostered... 16
- 2 charged in attack on gay men;... 14