(SALT LAKE CITY) — A Utah jury has found Dr. Martin MacNeil guilty of drugging and drowning his wife — all so he could allegedly pursue an affair with a woman he met online.
MacNeill, 57, has been found guilty of first degree murder and obstruction of justice for the April 11, 2007, death of his wife, Michele MacNeill, 50. The former beauty queen’s cause of death has been the main source of contention between the prosecution and defense.
MacNeill will be sentenced Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. His bail will remain at $1 million dollars until sentencing.
Prosecutors said MacNeill persuaded his wife to have plastic surgery so he could dope her up during her recovery and then drown her, clearing the way for his purported mistress, Gypsy Willis, to move in to the family’s home.
MacNeill’s defense lawyers said heart problems were a contributing factor in the mother of eight’s death and that the Utah doctor was not guilty.
His defense attorney, Susanne Gustin, acknowledged at the start of the trial that MacNeill “has made poor choices in his life. We’ve heard he had affairs during his marriage,” she said.
“We may think he is a total jerk, that is absolutely disgusting and that’s natural. But it’s very critical that during this trial you set aside your emotion,” Gustin admonished the jury when the trial began a month ago.
During the three week trial, family fireworks flew as four of MacNeill’s daughters testified. One of his oldest daughters, Alexis Somers, told the jury that she believes her father was guilty.
“Ever since the day my mom died, I was concerned that my father killed her,” Somers said. “I’ve been fighting to get justice for this case ever since then.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire