Provo • Just days after her mother had died, Alexis Somers received a phone call from her father, Martin MacNeill, telling her that he had found the perfect nanny to care for her younger sisters.
He began to say the woman’s name — Jillian — before Somers interrupted him.
"You mean Gypsy Jillian Willis?" she testified that she asked her father. "I know that woman and I know that Mom was worried about you having an affair with her and you are not to bring her into this home."
Somers testified Wednesday in 4th District Court that her mother, Michele MacNeill, had confided in her that she thought her husband was cheating on her. After looking through his phone records, Somers said she went online and paid for a service to trace a phone number. It came back to a Gypsy Jyll Willis.
"He got irate," Somers testified about her father’s reaction to her accusation. "He was screaming at me, ‘How dare you, how dare you accuse me?’ "
But just eight days after 50-year-old Michele MacNeill was found dead in her bathtub on April 11, 2007, Willis moved into the MacNeill family home, hired as the nanny.
Sabrina MacNeill, the MacNeill’s 19-year-old adopted daughter, testified Wednesday that Willis did not do any typical nanny duties.
"She made spaghetti once," Sabrina MacNeill testified. "She didn’t do anything. She lived downstairs."
Sabrina MacNeill said she often saw Willis go up to her father’s bedroom in the evening, and they would "vacation" together.
Martin MacNeill, 57, is on trial for allegedly killing his wife in order to continue an extra-marital affair with the now 37-year-old Willis.
Charges of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstruction of justice allege Martin MacNeill, a doctor, gave his wife a fatal combination of prescription drugs after she came home to recover from cosmetic surgery.
Somers testified Wednesday that she cared for her mother in the days after her surgery, keeping a meticulous log of what Michele MacNeill ate and what medications she took.
The day after Michele MacNeill’s April 3, 2007 facelift procedure — a gift from her husband — Somers testified that she began to care for her mother, but her father demanded that she leave her parents’ bedroom for the evening.
She slept in her sister’s room that night, and in the morning, she found her mother "very sedated."
"I went over there to try to wake her up and she wasn’t waking up," Somers testified.
When she confronted her father about why her mother was so sedated, Somers testified that he admitted to her that he gave her too much medication.
It wasn’t until early evening when Michele MacNeill — whose eyes were bandaged after the surgery — was awake enough to hold a conversation.
Somers said her mother told her that Martin MacNeill kept giving her pills the night before, even causing her to throw up. Michele MacNeill told her daughter she didn’t want her husband to give her any more medication.
"She had me take out every single pill," Somers said. "She wanted to feel what the pills felt like in her hands, so that if my dad tried to give her anything, she would know what he was giving her."
Somers testified that her mother continued to recover in the following days, and by the time Somers flew back to Nevada to continue medical school on April 10, 2007, her mother was up and moving and was well enough to eat her favorite chicken teriyaki meal at a Sizzler restaurant. Somers added that her mother’s use of prescription medications had also greatly decreased, and she was only taking a small amount of pain medication.
"She was actually feeling really well," Somers testified. "She was joking around. She still had some bruising under eyes, still had some swelling, but most had gone down quite a bit."Next Page >
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