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(Martin Joseph MacNeill, right, stands with his attorney Randall Spencer 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
Utah doctor accused of murdering wife appears in court

Hearing » As Martin MacNeill makes first court appearance on murder charges, daughters hold up photos of victim.

First Published Aug 27 2012 02:30 pm • Last Updated Aug 28 2012 08:33 am

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.

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"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.

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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.


Twitter: @aaronfalk

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