My husband comes from a family in which mental illness has affected many and yet there was a unspoken rule that it was not discussed or addressed most of the time. Of course there were times in which things could not be ignored and someone had an issue which had to be addressed but for one, only if that issue did not involve the law, and for two, it was only addressed long enough to get through the immediate problem and then they went back to ignoring things. There was no rule of acceptance or admittance and if one could keep their distance they did. I have often said that there is a fine line between an excuse and a reason and sometimes people are blinded to that. I do not mean to say that crimes committed by those who have a mental illness should not be addressed or go unpunished but I do feel that it sometimes gives a reason or an answer to things and I think this case qualifies. Again, do not take this as an excuse as to the crimes committed by Martin MacNeill despite the fact that it appears that he used his mental illness as one for maybe not the crime of murder, but other crimes he committed throughout his life. When it came to the crime of murder he does what many other convicted criminals do (although admittedly some are telling the truth) and denies all involvement.
On April 11, 2007 six year old Ada found her mother (biologically her grandmother), Michele, dead in the family bathtub in Pleasant Grove Utah. The initial cause of death would be ruled to likely be a heart attack. It appeared as if the mother of eight had suffered cardiac arrest and fell in the tub and drowned. It was the couples daughter Alexis who was the first to challenge this.
Martin and Michele would marry in February of 1978. Her family would say that this was done in secret and that Martin had already began to isolate the former beauty queen from her family. They would go on to have four children together (three girls and one boy). They would later adopt three girls from the Ukraine and also adopt a grandchild, a daughter of one of their daughters. Four months after their marriage Martin would serve six months in jail for forgery, theft and fraud although I was unable to determine what these stemmed from. Eventually the devout Mormon's would make their way to Utah to raise their family.
Prior to meeting Michele, Martin had been raised in a poor household in New Jersey that seemed to be riddled with issues. Martin was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a young age. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army but upon his discharge he was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. At his 2013 trial it would be mentioned through his sister that at some point (and I could not get a timeline to know if these things occurred before or after being with Michele) Martin had attacked his mother to the point that she was "unresponsive." According to his sister 9-1-1 was called and his mother was revived but it appears no charges were filed. Then at some point his brother, Rufus Roy, also died in a tub, just like Michele would in 2007. A former girlfriend of Martin's would testify that he had admitted killing his brother who had made several suicide attempts because he had become an "embarrassment to the family." Due to the previous attempts it seems at the time of Rufus' death there was no investigation, although that may have changed at this point.
I bring these previous things up because while it appears they did happen, along with several suicide attempts or threats of his own, there seemed to be only one reference to him seeking or receiving treatment. That treatment appears to have been limited to an overnight stay in a psych hospital in 2000 after he had threatened to kill Michele and himself after she had discovered he had been searching and looking at pornography. Aside from that I found no references that his mental illness was addressed in any manner and that he suffered few consequences for his actions. And yet it seemed to be the go to excuse when he could use it later.
Some have called Martin a doctor, although admittedly I am unsure if he even claimed to have a specialty other than possibly general medicine, while others argue that the fact he used fake transcripts to get into medical school, which he began in Mexico makes his "doctor" status non legit. It appears though that this too was not discovered until much later, and after the death of his wife. However, to put the facts out there it does appear that he had faked transcripts, applied to medical school in Mexico and after a few years transferred that to the United States. He also at some point, while working part time at a clinic in Utah, went to law school and obtained a degree but never actually practiced law. It does appear that while again on the surface it looked as if he was a legitimate doctor that he had difficulty in maintaining a job in the field and bounced between hospitals and clinics in the area. In 1994 while working at one medical facility he was accused of having sexual relations with a patient. A threat of suicide would follow.
Then there was the 2000 threat in which it was said that their son Damian would wrestle Martin for the knife he had threatened Michele with. In 2005 once again Michele caught him looking at pornography and he threatened suicide again. The problem that I have with all of these "threats" is that I never heard anything that led me to believe that he actually truly ever tried to harm himself or that aside from the 2000 threat was treated for anything. This leads me to believe that while he apparently did have mental issues that it seemed to be a convenient out to to use suicide as a threat when he was backed into a corner. There is documentation apparently that after his conviction in November of 2013 that the following month he made a suicide attempt while in jail but I have no specifics on this. I cannot say if this went beyond a threat or if he actually truly attempted to harm himself. Even if he did in fact make an attempt there are questions as to whether it was a valid attempt. What I mean about this is there has to be questions as to whether he attempted suicide because he truly wanted to die, or if he did so for the attention he would receive or even believed it may get him out of some trouble, no matter how unlikely that would seem to the average person. At any rate, as I often do, I got side tracked in the story, but I did want his personality or mental issues laid out before going further into what was alleged later in his life.
So, as I said, when Michele died initially it was only daughter Alexis who was suspicious of Martin and according to her story she had valid reasons. She would claim that starting in March of 2007 Martin had began pushing Michele to have cosmetic surgery. More specifically, a face lift. It was said that while being a bit overweight and having some blood pressure issues Michele wanted to wait for a bit. But, Martin continued to pressure the issue and Michele was already convinced that Martin was being unfaithful and she thought maybe this would help her marriage so she agreed. Michele had her surgery on April 3, 2007. The following day she returned to her home. Alexis was home on a break from medical school. On the following morning Alexis went to see her mother and found her "unresponsive." Some research indicated that Alexis spoke to her father and he admitted to "possibly" giving her more medication than she should have had. Either way once she was awake Alexis claims that her mother was scared and asked Alexis to take over her care, including her medications.
Speaking of the medications, it was discovered later that Michele's doctor had prescribed a multitude of medications for her post surgery. He would claim that some were medications that he did not normally prescribe but that "Dr." MacNeill had all but insisted. Now, whether this is true or not I guess is anyone's guess and in reality even if it is true the doctor had a duty to his patient and despite pressure should not have prescribed things he was not supposedly comfortable with. It appears the doctor would normally prescribe Phenergan seemingly alone but had been "pressured" to also prescribe Diaepan (i.e Valium) and Percocet (i.e. Oxycodone).
Alexis would claim that her mother stated "If anything happens to me, make sure it was not your dad." Alexis stated that at the time she did not take her mother all that seriously but she did take over her care for the next few days. On April 10th Alexis would return to school as her mother had all but recovered for the most part. On the morning of the 11th Alexis says she spoke to her mother about 8:45 in the morning and she was seemingly feeling and doing well. She also told Alexis that Martin was being especially nice and attentive that day. Then only about twenty minutes later Martin would call Alexis and claim that her mother was sick and would not get out of bed.
Martin would claim that from 9-11 that morning he was at work, yet no one recalled seeing him there. He picked six year old Ada up from school just after 11:30 and went back to the home. Ada would go upstairs and find her mother.
Alexis shared her concerns that her father had done something to their mother with her older sister Rachel. Rachel was not convinced.... not yet. It was said that at the memorial service for Michele held on April 14th people began to whisper after Martin had stood up to speak. Claims were that instead of talking about his wife of twenty-nine years he had spoke about how life had treated him unfairly.
Two weeks after his wife's death Martin asked his daughter Rachel to go to church with him. Rachel and Alexis had talked and she also knew that their mother suspected Martin had been having an affair with a woman named Gypsy Willis prior to going to the church. While they were there her father asked her to pray with him that he could find someone to help him take care of the children still at home. Rachel would claim that within minutes of this prayer a woman walked up and introduced herself. Rachel knew this was Gypsy but she introduced herself under another name. Gypsy was soon living in the MacNeill household under the ruse of being the nanny. It was then that Rachel knew something was not right and got on board with Alexis.
The two girls pushed to have toxicology tests done on their mothers body and expressed their concerns. Whether Martin was aware of what his two daughters were up to at that point is unclear. However, a few weeks after this Alexis would claim that she woke up to find her father on her bed fondling her. She filed charges against him and with those charges pending she was able to obtain custody of the younger MacNeill children. However, this seemingly was not done fast enough because soon after Gypsy moved into the home sixteen year old daughter Giselle was sent back to the Ukraine to live with presumably birth relatives. It was done under the guise of a visit but once gone Martin did not contact her. Instead he and Gypsy had devised a way to allow Gypsy to use Giselle's identity. Giselle would eventually be brought back home by an aunt.
As things began to deteriorate in the MacNeill family it appears that son Damian supported his father fiercely. It would take a few years but investigators were looking into things by late 2009, over two years after Michele's death. They were apparently still waiting on toxicology reports that they had finally gotten but they were doing some investigating. While the daughters were having their father looked at it appears they were looking at everyone. By early 2010 Damian was in law school in New York. After doing some investigating on him the Utah City Attorneys Office sent a letter to his school. They informed them that Damian was not a suspect in his mother's murder but apparently had posted comments and things around the Internet that had concerned them. They felt he was dangerous and "possessed homicidal impulses." Not long later on January 16, 2010 Damian would commit suicide after overdosing on prescription medication.
Although they were looking into things nothing could truly be done to move forward until the toxicology information came in and a doctor looked it over. The original death certificate would also have to be changed. That was done in October of 2010 when the manner of death was considered to be undetermined and the cause of death was listed as the combined effects of heart disease and drug toxicity. While the levels of the Phenergan, Percocet and Valium, along with Ambien that Michele apparently took on a regular basis were not considered to be at lethal levels it was noted that the combination of the medications would have rendered her unable to take them all herself. She would have been in no condition to be able to.
And yet still it took until August of 2012 before Martin would be charged. His trial for murder would start in October of 2013. This trial would be only for the murder of his wife and the fraud charges related to the identity theft of his daughter, Giselle. The following year he would face a trial for sexual abuse against Alexis.
Two important people who testified at his trial, aside from his daughters, were his two mistresses. Yes, two. Gypsy did not really impress anyone considering she had moved into his home and taken over the identity of his daughter just a few short weeks after his wife had died in that same house. And, she likely testified to make her own case better. To be honest though I am unsure what she contributed for either side in this trial. The other mistress was a lady by the name of Anna Osborne. Not only would she testify that Martin had once told her there was a way to kill a person and make it look like a heart attack, she would also claim that he had confessed to killing his brother. A jail inmate, (isn't there always one of those?) also testified that he had confessed to the murder but had said it would never be proven.
It seems as though the best evidence likely came from Alexis and well, Martin's actions themselves worked against him. After eleven hours of deliberation the jury would return with a guilty verdict on all counts. He would receive a sentence of fifteen to life for murder, and a sentence of one to fifteen years on charges of obstruction of justice. I was unable to determine just what he received for the identity theft. The following year at his trial concerning the sexual abuse against Alexis he would once again be found guilty and sentenced to another term of one to fifteen years. At this point, although as late as September of 2016 he was still trying, all of his appeals have been denied concerning both cases.
The Department of Corrections website does not have a parole hearing year on their site but other information stated that he will not be eligible for parole until 2052, which considering he was well in his 50's when he was convicted it is unlikely that he will ever live outside prison walls again.