(PROVO, Utah) — Two daughters of the Utah doctor on trial for allegedly killing his wife provided emotional testimony Thursday that they believed their father was guilty.
The day his wife died, Dr. Martin MacNeill insisted on telling one daughter, Rachel MacNeill, how her mother ended up in a bathtub unconscious, even though she said she asked him to not tell her the details.
Rachel MacNeill wiped away tears, and her voice quivered at times, as she testified Thursday at her father’s murder trial in Provo, Utah.
“He said that she must have fallen, hit her head,” Rachel MacNeill said. “He kept repeating that the autopsy needed to be done. I didn’t want to see any of this. My mother just died, and even showing me and talking about [the] autopsy. … It was horrible. I didn’t want to know and I was concerned about my family. I didn’t want to hear that.”
MacNeill, 57, kept his head down for part of his daughter’s testimony as she described her close relationship with him while growing up, even calling him her “best friend.”
Earlier Thursday morning, Rachel’s sister, Alexis Somers, testified that she believed her father was guilty of drugging and drowning her mother, Michele MacNeill, 50, as she recovered from plastic surgery.
“Ever since the day my mom died, I was concerned that my father killed her. I’ve been fighting to get justice for this case ever since then,” Alexis Somers testified Thursday.
Prosecutors have painted MacNeill, a former Mormon Sunday school teacher, as a liar who was hell-bent on making his wife, Michele MacNeill, have a facelift so he could dope her up with a cocktail of drugs during her recovery and then drown her in the bathtub.
The motive, prosecutors said, was a woman named Gypsy Willis, who MacNeill had met online more than a year and a half before he allegedly killed his former beauty queen wife.
Much of Somers’ testimony focused on her interaction with her youngest sister, Ada, who was 6-years-old when she discovered her mother’s body in the bathtub on April 11, 2007.
Somers said she has had custody of her youngest sister, now 12, since her mother’s death.
Despite her opinion that her father is guilty, Somers said she was careful not to taint her sister’s recollection of the day their mother died in case she was called to testify at the trial.
Somers said she recalled printing out a diagram, at the request of investigators, and asking Ada to draw a picture of how she remembered finding their mother.
“She was drawing the picture of how my mom was laying,” Somers said. “She was saying other things like, ‘The water was halfway full. The water was red.’ She said her eyes were open and she said a few things that I jotted down on the diagram.”
MacNeill’s defense lawyers said heart problems were a contributing factor in the death of the mother of eight.
The medical examiner has never determined a cause of death.
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