Dr. Martin MacNeill

MacNeill sisters testify in Utah murder trial; deny coaching younger sister


Martin MacNeill, right, speaks with his attorney Susanne Gustin during his trial in Judge Derek Pullan's 4th District Court in Provo, Utah, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. Photo / AP - The Daily Herald,  Mark JohnstonWatch the Martin MacNeill trial live stream here

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Two sisters testified Thursday that their father — a former Utah doctor — was eager to demonstrate how their mother ended up dead in a bathtub, and how quickly he introduced a nanny who became his lover.

During Martin MacNeill’s murder trial, one daughter declared she believes he killed their mother and the other recalled that he sought to clear himself of any suspicion hours after the death.

“He didn’t want anyone to think he murdered my mother,” said Rachel MacNeill, the oldest of eight siblings, who said she found her father’s effort to clear himself jarring in 2007 when she was grieving her mother’s unexplained death.

“It was so shocking to me,” Rachel MacNeill testified. “I said, ‘Why would anyone think that?'”

She spoke haltingly, trembling as she tried to maintain her composure. The judge had to call a break early in her testimony when she was unable to speak. She avoided looking at her father in the courtroom.

At the beginning of her testimony, Rachel MacNeill said while growing up, her father was her best friend, and that she was closer with him than her mother. When she first heard of her mother’s death, she didn’t suspect her father, she said. On her drive over to the house after hearing about the death, her focus was on comforting her father.

But her suspicions quickly grew based on his actions in the weeks following her mother’s death. She described a family lunch after their mother’s funeral that turned sour.

Her father was “commenting on how he’s a single man now, and he kept it very casual,” Rachel MacNeill said. “He was making jokes about being single, and he was laughing. It made me sick. I left.”

Earlier Thursday, another sister testified that the account by her father about finding his wife unresponsive in the tub conflicts with other eyewitness accounts.

Alexis Somers, a doctor herself, is a guardian for the family’s youngest daughter, a key witness in the case whose appearance at the trial awaits a ruling by the judge.

Somers said she never coached the then-6-year-old sister about what to tell police in Utah after the child was the first to find their mother unresponsive in a bathtub in 2007. Her testimony came during a special hearing held by the trial judge to determine if he’ll allow Ada MacNeill, now 12, to take the witness stand.

Fourth District Judge Derek Pullan issued no immediate ruling as he resumed the trial Thursday. He is trying to determine if Ada MacNeill has her own independent memory of what happened. Jurors were not present during the hearing.

MacNeill, 57, is accused of hounding his wife Michele MacNeill to have a face-lift then mixing a lethal combination of drugs for her recovery and helping her into the tub.

The 2007 death shocked the Mormon community of Pleasant Grove, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City, because the suspect was a doctor and had been a church leader. MacNeill has since surrendered his medical license

The trial, in its second week, will continue Friday with testimony expected from MacNeill’s alleged mistress. The trial is expected to last at least one month.

PAUL FOY

Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Lalocke says:

The oldest daughter seems so fragile. So fragile, I think she may be more susceptible to suggestion than young Ada. However, I don’t believe that Alexis intentionally tried to lead or convince anyone of her fathers guilt except the authorities.

   
Judy says:

He’s horrible. ..But I dont beleive the sisters testomony. …the oldest one was Soooo Fake.

   
Jassyca says:

If you feel the testimony of one of the sisters was “fake”, then what possible motive do you think she has for her testimony? Me, I believe her. She gains nothing out of this except to create larger cracks in an already broken family and that has to be an incredibly hard thing to live with. So often, the immediate family turns a blind eye to all evidence of evil by a family member but she’s not doing that. It couldn’t have been easier for her to admit to herself her dad killed her mother let alone testify to it in front a room filled with strangers. Geez, give the poor gal a break.

   
Trudy says:

Dear Paul Foy. Loved your article, got to the bottom with a first quick glance at your name with a second look because I was sure it said “Foul Play” and I was surprised that you were saying what we, the public think happened. But alas I have to post my own opinion and hope like hell the jury sees through him. How can they not when one story is she is head first bent over the side and into the tub and others arrived and witnessed her completely in the tub. Both his statements, this jury will only deliberate about 4 hours break for lunch, come back to the jury room and take a final vote announcing they have a verdict: As Follows: GUILTY FIRST DEGREE PREMEDITATED MURDER. But that’s just my opinion. Cheers!

   
Veraq says:

I can’t believe that it was one of the MacNeill’s daughter’s identity that he and Gypsy tried to steal. I believe that Gypsy is on probation until 2014.

   
TrudyLynn says:

wow didn’t know that. Thanks. I haven’t been following it barely remember hearing about it there are so many like it. but that’s interesting. I believe if the Jury went out right now, they would find him guilty just by the two different stories he told about how he found his wife.

   
Vera says:

I believe she is on probation until sometime in 2014.

   
citywildcat says:

I know this is off-topic but has the mistress been in jail the whole time and if so, what charges is she being held on?

   

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