Attorney: Martin MacNeill refuses to meet doctors for competency evaluation
Courts • He was found guilty of murder and obstruction of justice in his wife’s death.
Published: April 3, 2014 10:48PM
Updated: April 3, 2014 10:12PM
image
Martin Joseph MacNeill walks to the podium as he makes his initial appearance Monday, Aug. 27, 2012 before Judge Samuel D. McVey in Provo on a murder charge in the death of his wife, Michele MacNeill. Scott G. Winterton | Pool photo

With a competency review just weeks away, Martin MacNeill’s attorney told a judge Thursday that the former doctor recently convicted of killing his wife has refused to meet with doctors for his evaluation.

On Nov. 9, a jury convicted MacNeill, 57, of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstruction of justice in the death of his wife, Michele MacNeill.

During a telephone conference Thursday, defense attorney Randall Spencer said MacNeill’s competency evaluation has not been submitted to the court because his client has refused to meet with doctors who have visited the jail.

The former doctor’s competency is being probed as part of an unrelated sexual abuse case, where MacNeill is charged with one count of forcible sexual abuse, stemming from allegations that in 2007 he put his hands down an adult female relative’s pants.

Spencer filed a motion in January saying he didn’t think his client was competent to stand trial in the sex abuse case, arguing that MacNeill’s mental and physical health have deteriorated while he has been on suicide watch at the Utah County jail.

On Jan. 28, 4th District Judge Samuel McVey cancelled MacNeill’s sex abuse trial, and ordered two mental health experts to evaluate MacNeill. A competency review is set for April 28.

Meanwhile, MacNeill has not yet been sentenced for the murder conviction, because Spencer filed a motion to arrest judgment in the case. In the motion, Spencer argues that a federal inmate lied on the stand about a possible early release he received in exchange for his testimony, and that prosecutors did not disclose that a deal was in the works.

But 4th District Judge Derek Pullan has ruled that arguments on that motion can’t go forward until the competency issue is resolved in the sex abuse case.

Prosecutors have said in court papers that no “secret deal” had been planned, and implied that the inmate may have been released, in part, due to concerns for his safety after Spencer apparently addressed the inmate by name inadvertently during the trial — which was being broadcast live by CNN.

The federal inmate testified during MacNeill’s four-week trial that the defendant confessed to him that he drugged his 50-year-ld wife, then drowned her a bathtub at their Pleasant Grove home on April 11, 2007.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller