Dr. Martin MacNeill

Martin MacNeill in court Tuesday; wants a quick trial

Martin MacNeill was in court Tuesday for a pre-trial status and scheduling conference leading up to his murder trial for the 2007 death of his wife Michele MacNeill, 50.

“[MacNeill] wants a quick trial, … we’re going to be ready to go,” defense attorney Susanne Gustin said outside the courtroom Tuesday. Deputy Utah County Attorney Chad Grunander said there should be plenty of time for preparation and there should be no problem bringing out-of-state witnesses to testify in Provo. Both the prosecution and the defense said that the trial should be resolved in less than a year.

Michele MacNeill was found dead in her bathtub in April 2007 by their six-year-old daughter. Her husband is accused of administering her a cocktail of drugs and then drowning her. Several doctors testified at a preliminary hearing but provided different conclusions about the cause of death, with one doctor determining Rachel died from drowning while another determined she died from a combination of heart disease and drug toxicity.

Shortly after his wife’s death MacNeill moved his longtime mistress, Gypsy Willis, into his house as the new nanny. Willis testified in a prior hearing that she had an affair with MacNeill beginning in 2005. Prosecutors believe MacNeill killed his wife to continue the affair with Willis.

He is charged with first-degree felony murder and second-degree obstruction of justice.
Judge Samuel McVey also decided Tuesday that he would call 120 potential jurors, selecting eight jurors and four alternates and using a questionnaire to filter out those potential jurors that have already formed an opinion about the case. The jury selection process will begin in early January.

The next hearing is scheduled for December 17 at which time defense attorneys will argue their request for a detailed list of the alleged criminal acts that led to Michele MacNeill’s death. Defense attorney Randy Spencer said they need the specifics of each act – including the date, time, and place – in order to prepare to defend against those claims.

Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial

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