PROVO — The girlfriend of a man suspected of killing his wife was in court Tuesday on charges of working with him to steal his daughter's identity.
Gypsy Willis, aka Giselle Jillian MacNeill, is currently serving a 21-month sentence for federal charges of aiding and abetting in aggravated identity theft and made her initial appearance for her district charges Tuesday. She was charged in December 2009 in 4th Provo's District Court with one count of identity fraud, two counts of false and inconsistent material statements and one count of wrongful lien.
She set a waiver hearing March 1 where a preliminary hearing will be set or she will waive her preliminary hearing. Willis will be serving her last few weeks of her federal sentence in the Utah County jail.
The 34-year-old had been dating Martin MacNeill, a Pleasant Grove doctor and attorney, for several years before moving in with him and his family as a nanny just weeks after his wife's suspicious death in April 2007.
Right after his wife, Michele, died, prosecutors say MacNeill and Willis began altering Willis' identity, obtaining false military IDs, a Utah state ID card, and opening numerous bank accounts under the false name and identity.
They used the identity of his 16-year-old adopted daughter, Giselle — a daughter investigators say he had "flown to the Ukraine and left there to fend for herself" in the summer following his wife's death.
MacNeill's daughter, Alexis Somers, and Michele MacNeill's sister, Linda Cluff, were both in the courtroom for Willis' case.
"It was really hard," Cluff said of being in the same room as Willis. "The fact that she just glares at you and then smiles — it's just hard to see someone who destroyed our family's lives."
According to investigators MacNeill and Willis' relationship had been "heating up" prior to Michele MacNeill's death. Her two roommates told investigators Willis even talked to them about poisoning MacNeill's wife or cutting the brake lines of her car.
"I am just scared she is going to get off," Somers said of her father's girlfriend, who she suspects is still in communication with her dad. "She is a threat. I am concerned for my safety, my family's safety and my little sisters' safety."
Family members expect murder charges to be filed against MacNeill next month.