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Murder hearing: Daughter claims dad overmedicated mom
Court » Woman testifies pills vanished the day her mom died.


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Somers also described a falling-out within the family after MacNeill insisted on hiring a nanny in the weeks after her mother’s death. He told her that he posted fliers soliciting the position, but only one applicant was interviewed: Gypsy Willis, the woman with whom Michele MacNeill feared her husband was having an affair.

Despite his children’s protests, MacNeill hired Willis to care for the four younger children.

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"He said he didn’t want his kids controlling his life any longer," Heng said.

Somers said Willis stayed in MacNeill’s home even after the four younger children had left to stay with a couple in California, and eventually with Somers in her Henderson, Nev., apartment.

Somers said he confronted her father multiple times about his relationship with Willis, and only once, after a neighbor told Somers that they were spotted making out in Ikea, did he admit to a romantic relationship.

"He said, ‘We’re going to get married in the temple,’ " Somers testified. "Then he hung up."

Somers, who testified for several hours Friday against her father, said being on the witness stand was difficult.

"This is a man I loved a majority of my life, who I thought was our protecter," she said. "I really looked up to him. I thought he loved us."

The state medical examiner has never ruled Michele MacNeill’s death a homicide. After an autopsy in 2007, her manner of death was ruled "natural," the result of "chronic hypertension and myocarditis, which are capable of causing acute unexpected arrhythmia and sudden death."

But investigators say Martin called the medical examiner multiple times and gave misleading information. In 2010, in a new investigative report, Chief Medical Examiner Todd Grey changed the cause of death to the combined effects of heart disease and drug toxicity. The manner of death was changed to "undetermined."


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In recent years, other experts have also reviewed the case.

Douglas Rollins, a University of Utah professor of pharmacology and toxicology said he believed Michele MacNeill had taken a potentially lethal dose of medication. Rollins testified Friday that through an analysis of Michele MacNeill’s toxicology reports, he concluded that some of the prescription drugs found in her system may have been taken one to two hours before her death.

But Randy Spencer, one of MacNeill’s defense attorneys, refuted Rollins’ analysis, citing several studies that concluded analyzing blood post-mortem may be inaccurate for observing drug concentrations when the person was alive. McVey, however, allowed the testimony.

A medical examiner in Florida determined the immediate cause of death was drowning and that, contrary to the Utah medical examiner’s findings, there was no evidence of acute or active myocarditis.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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