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He also classified Michele MacNeill as "drug naive," indicating that her ability to tolerate drugs and their symptoms would not be as high as someone who frequently used pain killers.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Randy Spencer confronted Dawson with an email sent to Utah County Attorney’s Office investigators, where Dawson seemingly wrote that the toxicology report did not support the theory that Michele MacNeill was murdered by her husband.
"There’s not a smoking gun in here, that I see," Dawson wrote to the investigators. "There is a lot of empty casings on the ground, but there’s not a smoking gun."
Dawson said Friday that his reference to a "smoking gun" indicated that there was not one drug that could be singled out as being a lethal dose.
Spencer also pointed to an email from Dawson to Utah County Attorney’s Office investigator Doug Witney, where we wrote about "looking for ways to get around the medical examiner’s report."
But Dawson said Friday while it was a "poor choice of words," he intended to mean that getting over "the huge hurdle" of the original autopsy report would be difficult. The original report, completed shortly after Michele MacNeill’s death in 2007, classified Michele MacNeill’s manner of death as "natural," the result of "chronic hypertension and myocarditis, which are capable of causing acute unexpected arrhythmia and sudden death."
But investigators believe Martin MacNeill called the original 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."
Also Friday, Judge Derek Pullan ruled that the memories of Martin MacNeill’s daughter, Ada MacNeill, of finding her mother in the bath tub when the girl was 6 years old, were tainted because of repeated questions asked by her older sister, Alexis Somers, after she had an interview at the Children’s Justice Center.
"There is clear and convincing evidence that some of Ada’s memories were planted or distorted by Alexis’ repeated interviews with her," Pullan said Friday morning before handing down the ruling.
Pullan ruled that 12-year-old Ada’s CJC interview can be presented to the jury, and though she will take the stand to be cross-examined by defense, she won’t be able to give the complete testimony that prosecutors had wanted.
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