Dr. Martin MacNeill

Doctor: Michele MacNeill drowned; contradicts testimony of other doctors


Rachel MacNeill, the daughter of accused killer Dr. Martin MacNeill, testified Wednesday that she believes Gypsy Jillian Willis, the woman her father hired as the new nanny shortly after her mother’s death, was having an affair with her father and that he killed her mother in order to continue the affair.

Dr. Martin MacNeill, 56, is charged with murder and obstructing justice in the April 2007 death of his wife Michele MacNeill, 50, who was found upside down in a bathtub by their 6-year old daughter.

Rachel MacNeill said that her father hired Willis to be the new nanny but “she didn’t seem concerned about the children at all.”

“She didn’t do anything that a nanny would do,” MacNeill said Wednesday. “I expected to see what I had seen before, that had been hired as nannies, that their main focus was the
children. That they were there to work … not just sitting and staring at my dad.”

MacNeill expressed a certain degree of anger on the stand and had to be stopped several times by defense counsel Susanne Gustin for providing adverse stories about her father that went beyond the scope of the questions asked of her. MacNeill said that she has not spoken with her father since 2007.

She also emphasized that on the day of her mother’s death her father wanted an autopsy done immediately and that he was concerned the authorities would find him responsible for her death.

The State also called to the stand Dr. Joshua Perper, who recently retired as chief medical examiner of Broward County with 45 years of forensic pathology experience. He testified that he believed Michele MacNeill died from drowning. This determination is in contrast to the opinions of Utah State Medical Examiner Dr. Todd Grey and Dr. Maureen Frikke, both called to the stand Tuesday, who believed the cause of death to be a combination of heart disease and drug toxicity. Frikke performed the original autopsy on MacNeill.

Dr. Perper stated that his conclusion differed from those of Frikke and Grey because they were not privy to all of the information about the fluids found in MacNeill’s body. However, he did concede that “drowning is not an easy determination to make.”

All of the doctors to testify thus far have agreed that the manner of death – whether homicide, suicide, or accidental – is “undetermined.”

Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial

Copyright 2012 Wild About Trial. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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