Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Utah doctor to be sentenced for killing wife

19 September 2014, 14:14

Salt Lake City - A doctor who was convicted of murder after his wife was found drugged and dead in the bathtub of their Utah home will be sentenced Friday in the case that became a true-crime, cable TV obsession.

Martin MacNeill returns to court in Provo after prosecutors said he gave his wife, Michele MacNeill, drugs following cosmetic surgery then left her to drown in 2007 so he could begin a new life with his mistress.

The 58-year-old MacNeill could face 15 years to life on the murder charge and another one to 15 years on an obstruction of justice conviction.

The case against the doctor and lawyer with a family of eight shocked the Mormon community of Pleasant Grove, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City. A Provo judge previously denied a request for a new trial.

Two of Martin MacNeill's daughters, Alexis Somers and Rachel MacNeill, were expected to speak before the sentencing, capping a yearslong pursuit of justice for their mother.

Investigators initially found that Michele MacNeill, aged 50, a mother of eight and onetime California beauty queen, died of natural causes in 2007, possibly of heart disease.

However, her family repeatedly urged authorities to investigate further until charges were filed five years after her death.


"They were a driving force, definitely", prosecutor Chad Grunander said of the victim's daughters and sister, Linda Cluff, who is also expected to address the court.

Martin MacNeill has maintained his innocence.

Randy Spencer, his attorney, argued at the trial that Michele MacNeill died of a heart attack and fell into the tub.

Prosecutors conceded the largely circumstantial case wasn't an easy one. Grunander said the trail had gone cold by the time he came onto the case in 2010, and the judge excluded some evidence from the trial.

Also read: Suicidal policeman shoots wife, kills daughter

"You have a doctor and lawyer, beautiful wife, beautiful children, well educated, successful people, and this happens in the background, it is shocking to some degree, certainly", Grunander said.

Last year's three-week trial peeled back the facade with testimony from jailhouse snitches and MacNeill's former mistress, Gypsy Willis.

MacNeill introduced her as a nanny within weeks of his wife's death, but his older daughters said they quickly recognised the woman as his secret lover and the subject of arguments between their parents.

Prosecutors said MacNeill insisted his wife get a face-lift, and they pointed to erratic behaviour and what they called phony grief the day she died.

Former MacNeill cellmates testified that he had confessed in his wife's death. Spencer said the jailhouse snitches lied, and his client should get a new trial.

- AP

Tags us

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Confused Jubilee afraid of me, Ki...

The Jubilee Party is afraid of me, Evans Kidero says. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Sonko ready for Peter Kenneth bat...

Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko says that he is ready to take on Peter Kenneth in Nairobi Gubernatorial nominations come 2017. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Uhuru wants change in Constitutio...

The Jubilee Coalition is planning to change the Constitution and add President Uhuru Kenyatta another term, Kalonzo Musyoka claims. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
CORD to stop Jubilee efforts to r...

The CORD Coalition will not allow plans to remove Kenya from the Rome Statutes take place, it has said. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
How long will it take Kenya to le...

Kenya is looking to leave the ICC. But what is the process behind the exit? Read more...