Juror speaks out in Utah doc’s murder trial
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah doctor’s sometimes heartless behavior in the aftermath of his wife’s death suggested he left her to die in a bathtub, a juror on the panel that convicted Martin MacNeill of murder said.
“It was a combination of all the evidence that really got me there,” juror Stuart Lewis, 28, told the Deseret News on Wednesday. “There were too many things . that shouldn’t have been that way unless he had done it.”
Lewis said the five-man, three-woman jury believed that MacNeill twice over-medicated his wife, with what experts testified were painkillers, Valium and sleeping pills. The jury found MacNeill guilty of murder and obstruction of justice early Saturday after 11 hours of deliberation.
His comments were echoed by a handful of other jurors interviewed by KSL and the Deseret News who offered only their first names. The jurors spoke for the first time publicly Wednesday.
One of MacNeill’s oldest daughters, Alexis Somers, testified she caught the doctor giving her mother too much medication days after a face-lift, and that MacNeill was the only one around a week later to mix more drugs that were detected in Michele MacNeill’s system when she died April 11, 2007.
“These were the two times that he was alone with her, and we know he gave her the medication the first time,” Lewis said. “We believe the second time was intentional as well, absolutely.”
Jurors were less swayed by what they called the reluctant testimony of MacNeill’s mistress or the explosive allegations of a handful of men who spent time with MacNeill behind bars.
The inmates testified MacNeill admitted drugging and drowning his wife — or bragged that investigators could never prove it. They acknowledged under cross-examination they were hoping to shorten their sentences in exchange for their testimony.
Defense lawyers maintained Michelle MacNeill died of a heart attack while filling the tub, not because of any actions of her husband.
Lewis, however, said MacNeill’s lawyers put on an unconvincing defense by picking apart minor inconsistencies over time in accounts of prosecution witnesses. They should have spent more time advancing an alibi or offering some kind of solid evidence to refute the prosecution, he said.
MacNeill declined to take the stand in his own defense.
Lewis said he was overcome with the heartbreak of a broken family when the verdict was read in the courtroom early Saturday. The MacNeills raised eight children, four of them adopted.
“It was so difficult to look at him,” Lewis said Wednesday. “He ruined so many lives. He’s ruining his own life.”
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