In 2007, prominent doctor Martin MacNeill murdered his wife, homemaker Michele Marie MacNeil. The couple was together for nearly 30 years before Michele’s life was taken just days after undergoing a cosmetic procedure.
Within five years of serving his sentence, MacNeill committed suicide in prison.
Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Martin MacNeill:
1. He Was Convicted of His Wife’s Murder
In 2007, Martin proposed the idea that his wife receive cosmetic surgery. Although she was initially hesitant, Michele eventually underwent the surgery. Martin reportedly requested that Michele be prescribed four different kinds of medication to heal. Two of the drugs, it was later determined, Oxycodone and Diazepam, were not normally prescribed to patients after the procedure.
At first, Michele’s cause of death was written as undetermined. Medical examiners then stated that the combinations of medicines were responsible for her passing. In trial, chief prosecutor Chad Grunader stated, “It was an almost perfect murder, [MacNeill] pumped her full of drugs that he knew would be difficult to detect once she was dead.”
Prosecutors also argued in trial that MacNeill may have held his wife underwater for “good measure.”
In November 2013, Dr. Martin MacNeill was convicted of first-degree murder.
2. He Committed Suicide in Prison on April 17
On April 9, 2017, MacNeill was found unresponsive in the outdoor yard of the Utah State Prison. According to reports obtained by the Desert News, he used a “hose and natural gas line that was intended for a heater inside the greenhouse to kill himself.”
The report also stated that MacNeill had been suicidal since being sent to prison. He attempted suicide in December 2013, a month after being convicted of his wife’s death, by cutting himself with a disposable razor. Those who worked at the prison said he was “unhappy he was interrupted” in his suicide attempt.
A section of the report read, “Both told me that MacNeill had tried to kill himself before, (and) that MacNeill felt he was ‘tortured’ the last time he attempted suicide and MacNeill had told him if he was going to attempt suicide again he would not tell anyone.”
3. He Was Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing His Daughter in 2013
In 2014, one year after he was found guilty of his wife’s murder, MacNeill was also found guilty of sexually abusing his daughter, Alexis, in May 2007.
Alexis testified in her father’s 2013 trial, just one week after giving birth to twins.
Alexis was one of the first people to learn about her father’s death. “They wanted to let me know before it broke in the media,” she said. “I appreciated that so I could let my family know,” she tells ABC.
4. He and Michele Were Parents to Four Biological Children & Four Adopted Children
Alexis holds she always knew her father was guilty, but says it was hard to get others to believe her. “I knew that my father had killed my mom, but no one was listening to us … so we had to fight.”
Martin and Michelle were parents to four biological children and four adopted children at the time of the murder.
Martin was said by those close to him that he was an “actor” with a seemingly “scripted” life. When his mother-in-law, Helen Somers, met him, she admits to feeling unsettled. She recalls to Desert News telling two of her daughters that she “wouldn’t be surprised if he killed her someday.”
Research into Martin’s background led to the discovery that he was discharged from the military for schizophrenia after “hearing voices.”
5. His Mistress Moved into His House Days After His Wife’s Death
Just days after Michele’s death, MacNeill moved his mistress, Gypsy Willis, into his home in Pleasant Grove. He claimed that she was the children’s nanny. In court, prosecutors argued that the motive behind the murder was to “clear the way for his mistress to move into the family’s home.”
2013 was not MacNeill’s first run-in with police. In 2009, he and Willis were convicted of fraud for using his adopted daughter’s social security number.