A Utah doctor who drugged his wife and drowned her in a bathtub — and almost got away with it — was convicted early this morning, ending a six-year investigation that involved mistresses, drugs, and jailhouse snitches.
Michele MacNeill's six-year-old daughter found her unconscious in a bathtub in the couple's Salt Lake City home more than six years ago. At the time, her death was ruled to be an accident, due to chronic hypertension and myocarditis.
But three years after Michele's death, her children persuaded authorities to reexamine the toxicology report, which revealed that her cause of death was actually a combination of heart disease and drug toxicity.
Police eventually discovered that Michele's husband, Martin, had forced his 50-year-old wife get a facelift, then drugged her with the pain medication her surgeon prescribed and held her head underwater.
MacNeill's motive was apparently his mistress — a 20-years-younger woman named Gypsy Willis — who moved into MacNeill's home just a few weeks after Michele's death. MacNeill apparently pretended she was a nanny. Michele's children saw through the ruse and convinced police to investigate.
But despite a total absence of direct evidence, MacNeill — a well-known Mormon community member and medical director of the Utah State Development Center — still managed to implicate himself.
Prosecutors said that in the weeks leading up to his wife's death, MacNeill pretended to be sick and walked with a cane. Subpoenaed medical records revealed MacNeill was in perfect health — and had apparently been collecting veterans benefits.
At trial, jailhouse snitches testified that MacNeill confessed to the crime, and one of MacNeill's former mistresses told the court that he had confided in her that he could induce a heart attack and make it appear natural.
It took the jury 11 hours to deliberate.
MacNeill's brother, Rufus Roy, also apparently died under similar circumstances in a bathtub in New Jersey. MacNeill was never charged with his death.
[image via AP]