Inmates: MacNeill said cops 'can't prove it was me'

Photo provided by Paul McGarrell
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 11:00am

Three inmates who served time with Martin MacNeill in federal prison testified Tuesday that the former Utah doctor told them investigators didn't have enough evidence to prove he killed his wife.

"I said, 'Well man, they told me that you killed your wife.' And he said, 'If they could prove that, you think I'd be sitting here talking with you?' And I said, 'Did you do it?' And he said, 'The b***h drowned,'" testified inmate No. 4. He, along with the two others, were not photographed on the stand and were identified by numbers only.

Martin MacNeill is on trial in Provo, Utah, and has pleaded not guilty to murder and obstruction of justice charges. Prosecutors have accused MacNeill of drugging and drowning his wife, Michele, on April 11, 2007, to continue an affair with his mistress. MacNeill's defense attorneys say Michele MacNeill -- who was found with a powerful cocktail of prescription drugs in her system -- died of natural causes.

Martin MacNeill was sentenced to four years in the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana in northeast Texas after being convicted on fraud charges in 2009. MacNeill pleaded guilty to identify theft after using his adopted daughter's personal information to create a new identity for his then-mistress, Gypsy Willis.

All three inmates who testified Tuesday, the 11th day of trial, said MacNeill was nicknamed "Doc" in prison. They told jurors that they weren't given money or reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony. They said that, if anything, they were now most likely in danger for "snitching."

Inmate No. 3 said he worked out with MacNeill three or four times a week. When he asked MacNeill if the rumors about him murdering his wife were true, he said MacNeill told him, "Nah, I didn't murder my wife. If I did, they don't have any evidence." This inmate also said he heard Martin MacNeill call Michele MacNeill a "b***h."

On cross-examination, inmate No. 3 admitted to lying to investigators about another inmate in an attempt to get moved out of his compound.

Inmate No. 4 said he started talking with Martin MacNeill about diet and exercise and eventually asked the former doctor about MacNeill's wife. Even though inmate No. 4 testified that MacNeill told him, "the b***h drowned," he clarified on cross-examination that MacNeill never told him he killed his wife.

The third inmate to testify, identified as inmate No. 2, said he shared a cell with Martin MacNeill for two years. He said MacNeill "just mentioned that they couldn't prove it. That the medication she was taking was prescribed. He just said, 'They can't prove that it was me.'"

Jeff Robinson, the chief investigator for the Utah county attorney's office, also took the stand Tuesday. He had timed the outings Martin MacNeill made the morning of Michele MacNeill's death, which were from the family's home to work, from work to his youngest daughter's school and from school back home. Robinson said all of the trips could be made within minutes and that Martin MacNeill was always about five minutes from home.

The prosecution said in its opening statements that Martin MacNeill had time at some point that morning to return home and allegedly kill his wife before their youngest daughter, Ada, discovered her body.

The judge told jurors he expected prosecutors to rest their case sometime Wednesday morning. Prosecutors said they intend to call three additional witnesses to the stand: Two other men who served time with Martin MacNeill and his mistress, Gypsy Willis, who has already testified in his murder trial.

The defense is expected to then call a few witnesses to support Martin MacNeill's alibi, including his co-workers and his daughter's teacher. They have also announced that they'll be calling Brett Besser, an ergonomics expert who is expected to testify that MacNeill was not able to lift his wife's body out of the bathtub by himself.

Martin MacNeill faces life in prison if convicted.

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