Dr. Martin MacNeill

Dr. Martin MacNeill: Charges

MacNeill is charged with first-degree felony murder and second-degree obstruction of justice. He is being held in lieu of a $1 million cash-only bond.

Felony murder is a slightly different charge from what we normally think of as murder. Felony murder is a loss of life that happens in the course of committing another felony. The classic example of felony murder is the bank robber whose gun misfires during the robbery, and someone is shot and killed. The robber may not have meant to kill, but he was engaged in a fundamentally dangerous felony where the loss of life was a possibility.

It’s the same analysis here. Since prosecutors may have a hard time proving causation – that MacNeill affirmatively overdosed his wife – they instead will try to prove that he was committing another felony, namely, obstruction of justice, and she died as a casualty of his crime.

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