In Salt Lake City Superior Court this week Judge Derek Pullan denied a defense motion for a new trial for Doctor Martin MacNeill, age 58. Attorneys for MacNeill had argued that the physician’s jail mates had lied during the trial, when they testified that he admitted to them privately that he had killed his wife.
In his ruling to deny a new trial, Judge Pullan stated that during last year’s trial, MacNeill’s lawyer, defense attorney Randy Spencer, had successfully convinced the jury that the cellmate with the most damaging testimony had not been believable anyway. And after the guilty verdict, the members of the jury agreed that during deliberations, they dismissed the testimony as not credible.
Prosecutors were able to prove that in 2007, the physician had given his wife Michele drugs after cosmetic surgery, which left her too sleepy to stay awake in the bathtub of their home. They discovered that he was planning a new life with his mistress, so he overdosed her throughout the night, and in the morning he drowned her.
The murder case shocked the city of Pleasant Grove, just south of Salt Lake City. The trial, which lasted three weeks, garnered national attention, in part because three adult daughters testified that they became convinced their father was guilty due to his continued bizarre behavior. In fact it was the daughters who pushed law enforcement to reopen the case. The defendant – who is both a lawyer and a doctor – has 8 children and was at one time a bishop in his Mormon congregation.
Here’s a pretty good video overview of the case:
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