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Utah doctor accused of murdering wife appears in court

Published August 28, 2012 10:48 am

Crime • Pleasant Grove doctor Martin MacNeill, charged with killing wife in '07, appears in court.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • A Pleasant Grove doctor charged with murdering his wife appeared in court Monday as his daughters tried to focus attention on their late mother.

Martin MacNeill sat in the jury box with the other inmates, occasionally glancing at the photos his daughters and other family members held for him to see.

"We all felt it was so important he saw," Rachel MacNeill said. "This is our mother, that she means something, that she meant so much to so many people, and this is who he took away from everyone."

Rachel MacNeill and her sister, Alexis Somers, have long suspected Michele MacNeill was murdered and sought criminal charges against their father.

"Today is the first time there has been some sort of justice for our mother," Somers said after the hearing in 4th District Court. She added, "It's very bittersweet. This is our father, who we loved our whole lives. And to find out who he truly is, to find out that he murdered our mother, it's horrible."

The hearing itself was routine. A judge set another hearing for Sept. 4 to receive an update on MacNeill's case. He is being held in the Utah County jail on $1 million bail.

MacNeill, 56, was charged Friday with first-degree felony murder and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

He is accused in court papers of giving Michele MacNeill a deadly mixture of prescription drugs after she came home to recover from cosmetic surgery April 4, 2007. Martin MacNeill picked up one of his daughters from school on April 11. When they got home, the daughter found her mother in a bathtub that was a quarter full of reddish-brown water, the charges state.

MacNeill called 911. But he lied to the dispatcher about performing resuscitation and lied to police about events surrounding her death in an effort to hinder, delay or prevent any investigation, according to the charges.

MacNeill was having an affair at the time of his wife's death and, according to court documents, he devised the plan to kill his wife in order to continue with his affair.

Rachel MacNeill and her sister, Alexis Somers, have long suspected Michele MacNeill was murdered and sought criminal charges against their father.

"This is going to be a fight to the end, and we're prepared for this," Somers said.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @aaronfalk