True-crime TV hit ends with Utah doctor's conviction in wife's death
PROVO, Utah — A jury convicted a doctor of murder early Saturday in the death of his wife six years ago, bringing an end to a trial that became the nation's latest true-crime cable TV obsession with its tales of jailhouse snitches, forced plastic surgery, philandering and betrayal.
Martin MacNeill was accused of knocking out Michele MacNeill with drugs after cosmetic surgery, then leaving her to die in a tub like one that was displayed during the trial.
Prosecutors asserted that he may have held her under water for good measure and that he did it to take up a new life with another woman.
Michele MacNeill's daughters and other relatives let out a loud yelp before dissolving in tears as the jury delivered its verdict to the tense, packed courtroom.
“We're just so happy he can't hurt anyone else,” said Alexis Somers, one of his older daughters. “We miss our mom; we'll never see her again. But that courtroom was full of so many people who loved her.”
Martin MacNeill, 57, showed little emotion when the verdict was read. He hugged his lawyer afterward and said, “It's OK.”
He faces 15 years to life for first-degree murder when he is sentenced Jan. 7. He also was found guilty of obstruction of justice, which could add one to 15 years. MacNeill was led by deputies back to Utah County jail.
Randy Spencer, one of his lawyers, said he was disappointed and then declined further comment.
The chief prosecutor, Chad Grunander, said the largely circumstantial case is the most difficult he ever brought to trial and that many prosecutors wouldn't bother trying, especially with medical examiners unable to produce a finding of homicide.
“It was an almost perfect murder,” Grunander said in his closing argument, asserting MacNeill “pumped her full of drugs” that he knew would be difficult to detect once she was dead.
An early mistress of MacNeill's testified he once confided he could induce a heart attack in someone that would appear natural.
After deliberating for 11 hours, the jury issued its guilty verdict to murder and obstruction of justice shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Seattle area school homecoming ‘prince’ guns down classmates
- U.S. rules out apology to Pyongyang in exchange for 2 imprisoned Americans
- Warhol bodyguard sued over hidden artwork
- Philadelphia Mafia figure returned to prison for meeting friend
- 2 California deputies slain, suspect captured
- Washington city takes stock of damage from rare tornado
- Lawyer turns down AG post
- Test confirms remains are missing Virginia student’s
- New York, New Jersey order 21-day quarantine of all in contact with Ebola virus
- Doctor 1st Ebola virus case in New York City
- Vehicle smashes Commandments on capitol grounds in Oklahoma City