Jury reaches guilty verdict in Martin MacNeill murder trial

Posted at 1:09 AM, Nov 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-09 03:21:41-05

PROVO – Michele MacNeill's daughters and sisters locked their arms together and tried to stifle sobs as the jury marched into the courtroom to read their verdict.

Dr. Martin MacNeill stood, a stoic expression on his face as the clerk read the jury's decision.

"Guilty," the clerk said to the charge of first-degree murder.

Michele's family shrieked, overjoyed at the verdict.

"Guilty," the clerk said, reading the obstruction of justice charge.

Outside of court, Michele's family was hugging and crying.

"We're just so happy he can't hurt anyone else," Michele's daughter, Alexis Somers, told reporters. "We miss our mom. We'll never get her back, but that courtroom was filled with so many people who loved her."

Linda Cluff, said she felt "justice for my sister."

The five man, three woman jury reached its decision about 1 a.m. Saturday, after more than 11 hours of deliberations. Court was called back into session several times Friday night, as jurors asked a question relating to Utah laws regarding inheritance. The jury also requested a copy of the 911 call Martin MacNeill made.

They also asked for gloves to handle Michele's clothes that she wore the day she died on April 11, 2007.

"The truth won the day today," said deputy Utah County Attorney Chad Grunander. "It's been a long time coming."

Prosecutors said Dr. MacNeill killed his wife, so he could continue an affair with another woman. Through arguments and testimony in the trial that lasted nearly a month, they alleged Dr. MacNeill drugged his wife as she recovered from plastic surgery, lured her to the bathtub and drowned her.

"I think the mountain of motive in this case, it was just too much," Grunander said of the jury's decision.

Defense attorney Randy Spencer declined to comment as he left court, except to say he was "disappointed" with the verdict. The case is expected to be appealed.

Dr. MacNeill faces 15-to-life in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 7, 2014.

"With his age, with the circumstances of this case, I believe he will die in prison," Grunander said.

Dr. MacNeill faces another trial in December, where he is accused of groping a woman.

Click here for coverage of the case from start to finish.