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Pleasant Grove doctor accused of killing wife wants more info about his alleged crime

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14 2012 5:09 p.m. MST

Family members of Martin Joseph MacNeill hold photos of Michele MacNeill facing Martin MacNeill as he appears in court Aug. 27, 2012 in Provo. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Family members of Martin Joseph MacNeill hold photos of Michele MacNeill facing Martin MacNeill as he appears in court Aug. 27, 2012 in Provo. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO — Defense attorneys for a Pleasant Grove doctor accused of murdering his wife in order to be with his mistress want more details about the alleged crime.

Martin MacNeill, 56, was ordered last month to stand trial on charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, in connection with the April 11, 2007, death of his wife, Michele MacNeill.

Prosecutors say MacNeill, after having cosmetic surgery that her husband pressured her to get, was found dead in her bathtub with a dangerous combination of prescription drugs in her system.

In a new motion, defense attorney Randy Spencer is requesting a bill of particulars from the state. Included in that, Spencer wants prosecutors to outline a more specific timeline on MacNeill's death, including the "precise time" his client allegedly administered the cocktail of drugs found in his wife's body, how he administered them, and the "precise" cause and time of death.

Martin MacNeill, a doctor accused of murdering his wife, appears in 4th District Court in Provo Oct.  10, 2012, for a preliminary hearing. (Pool Photo, ) Martin MacNeill, a doctor accused of murdering his wife, appears in 4th District Court in Provo Oct. 10, 2012, for a preliminary hearing. (Pool Photo, )

Because medical examiners in Utah have not listed Michele MacNeill's manner of death as "homicide," Spencer said his client "is left to speculate about what alleged acts he is accused of doing to cause the death of Mrs. MacNeill."

Utah State Medical Examiner Dr. Todd Grey listed her manner of death as "undetermined." He listed the cause as heart disease combined with drug toxicity. A retired Florida medical examiner testified that MacNeill's cause of death was drowning, but said drug toxicity was a contributing factor. He concurred with the "undetermined" manner of death classification.

Spencer also wants more specific details about what Martin MacNeill did to obstruct justice.

Prosecutors, however, say the defense's motion "seeks information from the state that goes well beyond a bill of particulars," according to documents filed in 4th District Court. "The state is not obligated under the rules to provide the information requested."

Furthermore, prosecutors argue that information provided from the charging documents, a five-day preliminary hearing last month and other evidence presented in court should provide the defense with all the answers it is seeking. Deputy Utah County attorney Chad Grunander said defense attorneys are even welcome to review the state's case file in person.

In a separate motion filed this week, the defense is also asking for prosecutors to hand over copies of all investigator notes related to the case, contact information for all expert witnesses they have talked to and copies of their conversations with them, in addition to 11 other items.

Martin MacNeill allegedly had an affair with Gypsy Jyll Willis prior to his wife's death. After his wife died, Willis moved in with MacNeill as the new nanny for his children. Both were later convicted of identity fraud and sentenced to federal prison for stealing the identity of MacNeill's 16-year-old adopted daughter.

MacNeill's trial is scheduled to begin March 5 and continue through April 4.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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