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MacNeill hearing postponed by incomplete competency evaluations

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PROVO — A sex abuse case pending against Martin MacNeill, who was convicted of murder in the death of his wife, still remains on hold pending completion of a mental competency evaluation.

Fourth District Judge Samuel McVey ordered the evaluations Jan. 28 — just a week before the case was to go to trial, finding "there is bona fide doubt as to Mr. MacNeill's competency to stand trial." A competency review hearing was set for Monday, but the evaluations were not complete, prompting attorneys to ask for a continuance, court records show.

Another hearing is set for April 28.

MacNeill, 58, was found guilty in November of murdering his wife, Michele MacNeill, in 2007. The former Pleasant Grove doctor is also facing charges in an unrelated forcible sex abuse charge stemming from allegations that he groped one of his daughters in 2007.

MacNeill attempted suicide Dec. 5 and his attorney, Randall Spencer, filed a motion in January stating that the conditions at the Utah County Jail are "slowly killing" MacNeill. Spencer said MacNeill continues to be held in an isolation cell where he must wear a suicide robe, lights are shined on him 24 hours a day, preventing him from getting proper sleep, that he is cuffed and chained every time he showers and he is unable to receive nourishing vegetarian meals.

Spencer also noted that his client has suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder since his late teens or early 20s.

Sentencing in the murder case has also been delayed. Originally scheduled for Jan. 9, the sentencing was postponed in light of a motion from MacNeill's attorneys asking that his conviction be thrown out.

They allege that one of the state's witnesses — a federal prison inmate who testified against MacNeill during the trial — lied on the stand. Arguments on the issue were slated for Feb. 20, then moved to April 3.

No new sentencing date has been set.


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Emiley Morgan and Sam Penrod


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