Mother's words became MacNeill daughter's quest for justice

Jury convicts Martin MacNeill of drowning his wife in bathtub

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  • SheBear Orem, UT
    Nov. 12, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    My brother was betrayed many years ago by MacNeill. We learned that he is canny, unstable, brilliant, unreliable, underhanded *and* a liar, among many other dangerous traits. To anyone who believes reasonable doubt should have exonerated him, you really have no idea of the man, no idea at all.

  • Jim for America Moab, UT
    Nov. 12, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    I believe there should be evidence of murder before you use the circumstantial evidence to convict. MM did a lot of bad things but to convict him of murder when 3 medical examiners cannot determine a murder was committed is not justice. Thanks to his defense team who tried to address the real issues rather than just the bad acts.

  • Jim for America Moab, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:36 p.m.

    JBT - sorry you feel inclined to perpetually frown and feel that attorneys should be aggressive and cold. We felt that Mr. Spencer defended his client in an outstanding manner. It is important to ask difficult questions without creating a hostile atmosphere. Hope you never get in trouble!

  • Jim for America Moab, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 9:28 p.m.

    I had always thought that there needed to be a murder before someone was convicted of murdering and there certainly was no scientific evidence that a murder had been committed. I am amazed at how righteous everyone else is and how quick they are to throw stones. I certainly do not condone Macneill's horrible behavior but that does not add up to murder. I was impressed at how very prepared the defense team was and how assertively they defended their client. Randy Spencer is a great lawyer and I appreciated that he did not harass or abuse the witnesses. Not sure Macneill could have been found not guilty and the jurors still live and work and go to church in the Utah valley.

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    Nov. 11, 2013 7:37 p.m.

    Where are all the atheists and regular DN bashers here when an ethical judgment is rendered against evil? There is only evil when good exists also. Where did that standard "evolve" from?

    God is Judge and He adjudicated this evil man now. I will wait sadly but patiently until He explains why so much pain and evil still abound. But denying The Holy One's existence should terrify the unbeliever when left bereft of His justice.

    God bless this precious, suffering family.

  • liberty4me Saratoga Springs, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    I worked worked him as a nurse at the Developmental Center and from the moment this happened many of us did not put it past him. He is such an egotist whose blood runs with ice water. I am so happy to see the girls avenge their mom and sister. His only son committed suicide after his mother's death. There has been so much pain in these lives. I do hope peace for them now.

  • thelogicalone salt lake city, UT
    Nov. 10, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    I feel that the jury reached the correct verdict. I also feel incredibly sad for this family. I can't imagine having the feelings the daughters had. Losing their mother, seeing the family dynamic change, losing a brother to suicide, apparently because of this case, and now dad is returning to prison for what will likely be the rest of his life. heartbreaking doesn't begin to describe it.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 10, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    Imagine your mother dies. Within a few days your father brings a strange lady into your home. She supposed to be a nanny however she does nothing a nanny supposed to do. You find out your father has been having an affair with this new lady and they are now sharing the same bedroom. Can you blame the children for being suspicious? I sure don't. Does it prove your mother was murdered. I say no. Does it cast a cloud of suspicion around your father. Absolutely. Factor in the father's other suspicious behavior and I have no choice but to conclude foul play was involved.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    Nov. 10, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    Was justice truly done? In this case, and based on the media reports, I doubt it. Time will tell if the courts (I am confident it will be appealed) agree with the jury on this one. Conviction based solely on circumstantial evidence is, and should, be questioned.

  • gmk17of TX Arlington, TX
    Nov. 10, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    I couldn't be happier with the jury's decision however it seems that this was soooo premeditated that 15-life is too light of a sentence. Anyone know why he won't be sentenced until next year?

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 10, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    This makes me very very happy. I'm happy for the family .

  • Kelliebelle66 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 8:10 p.m.

    It is clear what convicted McNeill were his actions surrounding the death of his wife and his behavior afterwards. Also the fact that his own children believed him guilty is a huge red flag. If he had truly been a loving husband and father those children would have stood by his side. Watching the trial and reading about the medical testimony made me see some of that was really inconclusive (which was why the medical examiner could not definitely say homicide) , but the fact that he was acting so sneaky, pretending to meet Willis when he already knew her, flushing medications before the police got there, pushing his wife into surgery, and his medical knowledge I believe convinced this jury he could commit a crime and make it look like it could have been natural causes. Also to those people who are newer residents of Utah who think that this is a unique phenomenon to our state, look around and read news from other states. It's a proven fact that most murders are committed by people the victim know, and when it is one of a couple it is statistically most likely the spouse.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 6:22 p.m.

    He is a creep to be sure, but I think there was reasonable doubt that he murdered his wife.

  • Sunny Kid Tacoma, WA
    Nov. 9, 2013 6:11 p.m.

    Men who plot and then murder their wives must assume that law enforcement isn't going to put a lot of extra effort into investigating things if they can make it look like suicide, an accident or a disappearance. And especially if they can use all their narcissistic charms to convince the law their wife was "unstable". It works out great in their own heads. So they do it.

    I see this pattern played out on a lot of true crime / mystery programs. So I don't think it's that uncommon when a man murders is wife.

    It makes me wish they would bring back public service ads about domestic violence. That it is more than physical abuse. It's also emotional abuse. They stopped running them decades ago. Who knows how many lives were saved by those ads?

  • lanie austin, TX
    Nov. 9, 2013 5:24 p.m.

    Definitely the correct verdict. I watched the entire trial and definitely believe the prosecution/jury got it right. Even Martin MacNeill looked relieved after the verdict - almost like he could stop pretending and relax. His reaction was pretty telling, in my opinion. He probably displayed that calm, cool, gentlemanly demeanor many times-- he probably crafted it.

    DesertNews did a great article on MacNeill a few years back - if anyone is interested.. it is entitled: "Martin MacNeill: Was his wife Michele's death accidental or was it murder?".. Search it out - it is a great read. I didn't read it until after I watched the trial and came to my conclusion of guilt. When the jury came back today - I then spent time googling stuff up..and wow, what an eye opener.

    I bet the jury is stunned today - now that they can read the coverage of MacNeill. They'll be even more confident (if possible) of their verdict.

    RIP Michele...and may peace be with her lovely family.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Nov. 9, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    Three of Dr. Martin MacNeill’s daughters took the witness stand to testify against him, providing damning testimony about his behavior surrounding his wife’s death.

    “He did respond, ‘Yeah, I think I gave her too much medicine,’” MacNeill’s daughter, Alexis Somers, testified of a confrontation she had with him as her mother recovered from plastic surgery in April 2007.

    Somers said she spoke to her mother later in the evening as she came out of sedation.

    “She said, ‘Lexie, I don’t know why, but your dad kept giving me medications. Things to swallow. I think I even started to throw up, but he kept gving me more medication,” Somers testified.

    Somers said her mother wanted to “feel” the pills, so she knew what her husband was giving her. Days later, Michele MacNeill was dead.

    Somers, then a medical student, testified that she kept a log of her mother’s medical treatment including prescription drugs administered to her. The day her mother died, she said, that book vanished.

  • brisgirl Enoch, Ut
    Nov. 9, 2013 3:48 p.m.

    I am so thankful today that a jury took all the evidence at hand and found Martin MacNeill guilty of beautiful Michelle's death. We knew her in Blanding when he was the local doctor there, and she was a beautiful soul. I found her to be a real lady, quiet, and a lady who obviously loved her children. There were problems when he was the local doctor there namely problems with his medical license and a town meeting was held to try and get to the bottom of it. It was never resolved and then he left to continue his charade to law school.I had a daughter the same age as one of Michelle's girls and when I think how things turned out for that precious little girl plus the suicide after Michelle's death of Michelle's son, it absolutely breaks my heart.I'm so glad justice has been served and hopefully the family can find some semblance of finality and peace with his conviction. I will finish by saying if I had one word to describe the Michelle I knew, it would be this 'an elect lady.'

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Nov. 9, 2013 3:04 p.m.

    It wasn't just the inmates reports of statements he made to them that let to conviction.

    He is a physician and knows what can be traced and what can't be traced. Not every murder leaves behind DNA. On the one hand he demands an autopsy and on the other he tells the son to flush the meds. No way to tell how many meds got flushed and how many made it into her system. In this 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 4. On TV it's more neat and tidy.

  • KBS Southaven, MS
    Nov. 9, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    our justice system has failed us once again. This man never had a chance. They should have saved money and hung him on the steps of the courthouse. This case was nothing but REASONABLE DOUBT! The fact that the jury believed the inmates more than the MEDICAL EXAMINERS is disturbing. It was very obvious, with good reason, that the daughters were clearly biased and was caught lying so much I am surprised their statements were only impeached and not charged with perjury! This is not how our judicial system is supposed to work.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Nov. 9, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    I saw this case on one of those programs "20/20" or "Nightline" or something some time ago. The presentation sure made him look guilty.

    It is clear the oldest daughter, who was in medical school at the time, thought her father guilty from the get-go.

    Cases like this never cease to amaze.

  • james d. morrison Boise, CA
    Nov. 9, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    I doubt it happens anymore in Utah than it does in other states.

  • grinchpiggy Provo, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    A little surprised at this verdict after watching all of the trial live. He may have done it, but I thought there was plenty of reasonable doubt. Based on the jury's request for information on the home which was part of one of the inmate's testimony, it looks like they took the inmate testimony credibility over the original state medical examiners determination that it was natural death.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Our legal system allows for the personality of defense and prosecution attorneys, but the jury usually makes their decision on evidence, not personalities. If an attorney is too histrionic or too passive it is counterproductive and the judge can reprimand them. Mr. MacNeill is his own worst character witness and his criminal past is difficult to ignore.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Sad that the guy got away with every thing that he did for so long and in public trust. creepy guy in the first place.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    Justice is served. To the jury -- well done.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    Sociopaths have no conscience. What they do and can get away with fits well into their life
    and actions. Even before his marriage he showed that he lived by what he could get away with.
    So much of his life, social and career was riddled with lies and fakery.
    What really convicted him was he actions after his wife's death, and yes, some of the pleasure
    from being what he is and has done comes from the sharing of it in hints, tips, and " cannont be proved."
    I am happy for the family who can now feel that truth has won out. May they find the peace
    they have been seeking.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Nov. 9, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    My heart goes out to the children of this couple, they not only lost their mother, they also lost their father. The one they had to look in the eyes and know that this man who they were suppose to love and trust was not there for them and the day their mother died, they became orphans.

  • Todd_i Midway, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    I didn't really expect this verdict. I have no idea if Mr. MacNeill is guilty or not. However, the charges and news articles paint him as guilty by association. I'll trust that the jury was thoughtful and did the best they could.

    It seemed to me from the outside that the evidence to convict was not strong enough to convict. It is confusing that so much stake was put in the testimony of convicts. If a witness in any case, other than a neutral hired professional witness, is paid to give evidence we would strike the testimony out. Yet, the inmates are paid with reduced charges, early releases, and immunity, etc. 'Informer' testimony has long been suspect in law enforcement and it seems odd to build a case on these testimonies.

  • downunder south jordan, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    Randy Spencer brought the guilty plea down on Martin McNeal. NO ONE PERSON deserves to go to court and be treated In that manner. He should be disbarred!

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    Thank you jurors for your hard work listening to the evidence and the law and rendering a verdict based on the facts.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Nov. 9, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    PLM--I too have wondered about this.

    And not just adultery.

    Am reminded of the Lori Hacking case.

    If you do not want to be with someone anymore---there's the door.
    No need to attempt to poison them, or shoot them, or drown them...just leave already.

  • JBT Provo, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    That whole prosecution team deserves all the credit. Their closing arguments wrapped everything up perfectly! Great job! However, I do have to wonder how much Randy Spencer played in getting that guilty verdict... I watched a lot of the trial, and it was irritating, and embarrassing at times, to watch Mr. Spencer cross examine the witnesses. I imagine the jury was paying more attention to his facial expressions, his juvenile behavior, and his demeaning attitude, More then they were listening to the witnesses statements. The smirking and condescending attitude his how high school student make fun of each other... There's little place for that in a court room, and certainly not smart when talking directly to the jury..

  • md Cache, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    Narcissism at it's lowest.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    Juries also make mistakes. That's why we've had hundreds of convictions reversed when analysis of DNA later showed that the person they convicted was factually innocent. That doesn't mean the jury was wrong here, but we need to remember that juries are not infallible which is why we have an appeal system.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    This guy deserves everything he gets. He has been living a life of lies for many years. I'm so happy for her children.

  • PLM Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    As a fairly new resident of Utah, I have been surprised at the number of men that kill their wives instead of divorcing them when they have affairs. Adultery and murder seem to be linked somehow, it reminds me of King David. This gross destruction is a very disturbing trend that law enforcement needs to pay attention to and women need to protect themselves from. And men, seriously, you know better. You don't need to destroy your family, your wife or your own life. If you must get out, be man enough to take the legal route and the consequences. Best wishes to the McNeil children as they heal and rebuild.

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    Nov. 9, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    That is just one more good reason to NOT have plastic surgery!

    Girls, you are beautiful without surgery.

    Thank you Jury for making the right decision.

  • San Diego Orem, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 2:47 a.m.

    He probably committed the murder but from the information in the media I did not think the prosecution proved this beyond a reasonable doubt. The inmates' testimonies must have been more convincing in person to the jury than the reports in the media.

  • Shuzzie53 HAYWARD, CA
    Nov. 9, 2013 1:32 a.m.

    Juries almost always do the right thing.