A prominent Utah doctor suspected in his wife's 2007 death was released from a federal prison in Texas late last week after serving time for fraud. Dr. Martin MacNeill was freed but remains on three years of probation as part of his sentence. "It's really sickening to me," daughter Alexis Somers told The Deseret News Monday. "I am back to this panic feeling, just really nervous knowing what he is capable of doing and now he is out."
Somers, other family members and Utah County investigators believe MacNeill killed his wife in April 2007, then covered it up. He claims he had nothing to do with his wife's death.Michele MacNeill's body was found in a bathtub in the couple's Pleasant Grove home, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City. An autopsy indicated she died of natural causes, but a 2010 addendum to that report questioned the manner of death. Authorities now say they believe Michele MacNeill was drugged by her husband, but they haven't been able to prove it.
Martin MacNeill has never been charged in her death. He served time after pleading guilty to fraudulently trying to obtain military, banking and Utah identification documents for another woman.
Investigators and family members claim MacNeill had been having an affair with Gypsy Jyll Willis, the very woman who landed him in prison for fraud. When he applied for a military identification card for a woman he called his wife, he listed April 14, 2007 as their wedding day — the very day his real wife was buried and just three days after police say he killed her. A search warrant filed in March 2011 said MacNeill had the perfect motive — to cover up his affair. Willis also was convicted in the fraud case involving the ID card and served a year in federal prison.
"Martin had motive to kill his wife as he was attempting to hide his affair with Gypsy Willis and his continued contact with her," the search warrant states. "Ultimately Martin intentionally overdosed Michele with the medications." Michele MacNeill underwent plastic surgery on April 3, 2007 — just eight days before her death and shortly after confronting her husband about an affair that had been going on for the last three years, the search warrant affidavit states. It further said Michele MacNeill told her daughter that her husband had her take medications throughout the night even though they made her sick. She was found the next morning unresponsive and remained in that state throughout the day.
Chief investigator Jeff Robinson wrote that the doctor had access to the drugs and "admitted overdosing her a few days prior to her death as if he was going through a practice run." Chad Grunander, the Utah County prosecutor assigned to the case, said although MacNeill is out of prison, the homicide investigation is still ongoing. MacNeill is required to stay in Utah as terms of his probation.
Authorities say Martin MacNeill spent a lifetime spinning lies. Utah County investigators say he used falsified records to get into medical schools in Mexico and California and later, Brigham Young University. In 2009, while facing the federal fraud charges, he pleaded guilty to three felonies for lying to investigators.