‘Explosive allegations’ emerge in doctor’s murder case

Posted at 8:30 PM, Dec 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-18 00:43:53-05

PROVO, Utah -- Defense attorneys for a Utah County doctor accused of killing his wife filed a bombshell document on Monday, accusing prosecutors of misconduct and seeking to have his case dismissed.

Dr. Martin MacNeill's attorneys, Randy Spencer and Susanne Gustin, filed the 47-page motion in Provo's 4th District Court, accusing the Utah County Attorney's Office of withholding evidence they are legally entitled to. They said they discovered what was missing when a subpoena was served on a prosecution witness, who handed over a thumb drive.

According to the motion, the defense attorneys claim they found thousands of pages of information -- including evidence of another potential suspect in the case, destroyed information, and one of their star witnesses being asked by prosecutors to question a child witness.

"For all of the reasons set forth above, MacNeill respectfully requests the Court to dismiss all charges which have been filed against him," the attorneys wrote in the motion.

In court on Monday, prosecutors fired back.

"Our only interest in this case is the truth and justice," deputy Utah County Attorney Chad Grunander told the judge. "We're not hiding anything."

According to the defense motion, prosecutors wrote a letter to the college that Dr. MacNeill's son, Damien, was attending to warn them about him. Police, the defense said the letter claims, believed he was "a dangerous individual who possessed homicidal impulses and discussed the 'joys of killing.' "

While Dr. MacNeill insists that no one murdered his wife and that her death was an accident, Spencer and Gustin said prosecutors had concealed from them a potential suspect in Michelle MacNeill's death. Damien MacNeill, the attorneys said, was in the home the day his mother died and had allegedly disposed of her prescription medications. He committed suicide in 2010, they said.

They also accused prosecutors of having one of Dr. MacNeill's daughters, Alexis, ask another key witness in the case, her sister Ada, about the case -- something that should have been handled by law enforcement.

Michelle MacNeill, 50, was found dead in her bathtub in April 2007. Prosecutors accuse her husband of killing her so he could continue an affair with another woman.

Grunander accused the defense of being "disingenuous" with their filing, saying the attorneys have had ample opportunities to come to the county attorney's office to see the extent of their evidence. He also accused the defense of not being timely with providing its own evidence in the case.

"It's a bombshell," he told reporters outside of court. "We take this very seriously, the integrity of our office, my personal integrity. It's very important."

The judge said he would wait until Jan. 8 to hold a hearing in the case, at which time witnesses from the county attorney's office may have to testify. Dr. MacNeill is scheduled to go on trial for five weeks beginning in March.