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PROVO — A judge has ordered a Pleasant Grove doctor to stand trial for murder in the 2007 death of his wife.
After more than five days of testimony, 4th District Judge Samuel McVey Thursday said he'd heard enough evidence to believe Martin MacNeill, 56, should stand trial for murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
"It's a whole web of lies and he almost got away with it. Let's hope the jury convicts my father," Alexis Somers said after the judge announced his decision.
"It's kind of surreal. This is someone I looked up to and loved most of our lives and we thought he loved us, but instead her murdered my mother," she said.
"My mother deserves to be fought for. She deserves to not be murdered and thrown away."
MacNeill is accused of over-medicating his wife, Michele MacNeill, and administering a "dangerous combination" of drugs and drowning her in the bathtub of their home.
He had worked as a doctor and had a law degree, both of which police believe he used "to commit the murder and frustrate the investigation in an attempt to cover it up," court documents state. It was also evident to prosecutors that in the months before and after the Aprill 11, 2007 death, MacNeill "had a strong motive to kill his wife."
It's kind of surreal. This is someone I looked up to and loved most of our lives and we thought he loved us, but instead her murdered my mother.
While the Utah state medical examiner testified that MacNeill died of drug toxicity and heart disease, a retired Florida medical examiner testified that she died from drowning. But Utah County deputy district attorney Chad Grunander said the exact cause of death isn't important.
"The state needs to show that Martin MacNeill committed an act that caused the death of another. It doesn't articulate that there needs to be a specific, overt act proven under a specific theory," he said in his closing statements.
Defense attorneys weren't surprised by the judge's decision, but now that they have an idea of what the prosecution's case is, they plan to prepare a vigorous defense for the trial.
"The state has not proved an act by the defendant," added defense attorney Randy Spencer. "They speculate about an act and that is all we have here. They speculate that somewhere on April 11, 2007, Martin administered medication to Michele. There is zero evidence that on April 11, 2007, he administered medication to Michele."
"He has done some bad things, but does that mean he's a murderer? No. A lot of people have affairs," added defense attorney Susanne Gustin. "Just because he's an adulterer doesn't mean he's a murderer."
Gypsy Willis, who was hired as a nanny for the MacNeill family shortly after Michele MacNeill died, admitted Wednesday that she was involved in a sexual relationship with Martin MacNeill before and after the woman's death. She said there had been no discussion of him leaving his wife or the two of them sharing a life together until after Michele MacNeill died.
But two former roommates said Willis talked of possible ways to harm Michele MacNeill. They also said Willis became upset one day when Martin MacNeill told her he wanted to "cool things down" because his wife was getting suspicious.
Additional information will be posted about Thursday's decision.