Martin MacNeill, Utah doctor, found guilty of murder of his wife

Story highlights

  • MacNeill showed no emotion as the verdict was read
  • Prosecutors said he drugged and drowned his wife
  • MacNeill had pleaded not guilty
Utah doctor Martin MacNeill was found guilty of his wife's murder in a verdict early Saturday morning.
MacNeill showed no emotion as the verdict was read, but a yell could be heard from family members present.
He will be sentenced later.
MacNeill had said his wife's death was an accident, but in the end, jurors believed prosecutors allegations that MacNeill drugged then drowned his wife, Michele MacNeill, in the bathtub of their family's home on April 11, 2007, in a plot to be with his mistress.
MacNeill, who had been on trial for 22 days in Provo, Utah, had pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors alleged his actions after his wife's death hindered the investigation, forming the basis for the obstruction of justice charge. However, MacNeill's defense attorneys said that Michele MacNeill -- who was found with a powerful cocktail of prescription drugs in her system -- died of natural causes.
None of the medical examiners who worked on the case could determine definitively whether she died as a result of homicide.
During his closing arguments Friday morning, prosecutor Chad Grunander pleaded with jurors to return a guilty verdict on both counts.
"Martin MacNeill murdered his wife, Michele. Her death was not the result of an accident, and it certainly was not the result of a heart condition," Grunander said. "The defendant carried out a cold and calculated plan to murder his wife. He relied on his knowledge and experience as a doctor and also as a lawyer to accomplish this."
In his closing argument, defense attorney Randall Spencer said prosecutors had simply not proved their case.
"There's not evidence in this case that rises to the level of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," Spencer said. "The prosecution has presented to you their cherry-picked versions of the evidence that is most consistent with their theories."