"We're just so happy he can't hurt anyone else," daughter Alexis Somers tearfully told a crowd of media after the verdict was read. "...There is justice for my mom today."
Martin MacNeill, 57, was found guilty of murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 7.
Deputy Utah County Attorney Chad Grunander told members of the media at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday that Martin MacNeill's case was the most difficult he had ever prosecuted.
"We are absolutely thrilled," Grunander said of the verdict. "It was an amazing moment to meet with the family... I love it when the system works and it worked these last four weeks."
Martin MacNeill's defense attorney, Randy Spencer, declined to speak with the media after the verdict, but said, "Of course, I'm disappointed."
Grunander said during closing arguments Friday morning that the drugs given to Michele MacNeill after she underwent plastic surgery was her husband's cover to hide an "almost" perfect murder.
"Along the way, he left a number of clues that all point to him as a murderer," he told the jury.
For prosecutors, Grunander said the most damning piece of evidence was a government identification application that Martin MacNeill, 57, submitted for Willis, who represented herself in the application as his wife, Jillian MacNeill. On the line asking for their wedding date, Martin MacNeill inked April 14, 2007 — the day of Michele MacNeill's funeral.
"That is not short of an admission of guilt," Grunander told the jury during closing arguments. "He might as well have said in that application, 'I murdered Michele.' "
Reasonable doubt • But Spencer countered that there was no evidence presented by the state "that rises to the level of beyond a reasonable doubt." He accused prosecutors of "cherry-picking" facts that support their theory that Martin MacNeill killed his wife in order to welcome Willis into his life.
Spencer pointed to wording in the Utah medical examiner's report indicating that drug toxicity "could potentially" or "may have had an effect" on the woman's death.
That equals reasonable doubt, Spencer argued.
"I feel like I could sit down right now, because the medical testimony is so clear," Spencer said about 20 minutes into his 90-minute closing argument.