Convicted murderer Dr. Martin MacNeill found dead at Utah State Prison

Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-09 23:37:38-04

DRAPER, Utah -- A Utah doctor serving a term of up to life in prison for drugging and drowning his wife so he could carry on an affair with another woman was found dead in the Utah State Prison Sunday.

According to a press release from the Utah Department of Corrections, 60-year-old Martin Joseph MacNeill was found unresponsive in the outdoor yard of the Olympus Facility of the Utah State Prison Sunday morning.

While an investigation will determine the exact cause of death, the press release states there are no "obvious signs of foul play."

Officers found MacNeill near the greenhouse in the Olympus yard and began CPR, but responders were not able to revive him and he was ultimately declared dead at the facility.

A photo of Martin MacNeill provided by the Utah Department of Corrections April 9, 2017.

The Unified Police Department is handling the investigation into MacNeill's death, and the Utah Department of Corrections' Law Enforcement Bureau will assist.

MacNeill has been incarcerated at the Utah State Prison since September of 2014, the press release states, after being convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree obstruction of justice, and second-degree forcible sex abuse.

The man drugged and drowned his wife, Michele, allegedly to carry on an affair with another woman. He was convicted for murder and obstruction of justice in that case,

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

The murder case made headlines nationwide.

"You had doctor dad--who also had training as an attorney--beauty queen mom, eight children, and really a sensational aspect, and I think that's what drew people to the trial," Tanya Peters, an attorney and legal analyst, said in 2013.

MacNeill was sentenced to 1-15 years in prison in the sex abuse case, and Somers testified that MacNeill groped her shortly after the murder of Michele.

"My father's evil did not begin or end with the murder of my mother," Alexis Somers said in 2014. "Shortly after my mother's death, my father sexually assaulted me on two different occasions. He destroyed my world and created a living nightmare in its place."

Fox 13 News does not typically identify victims of sexual abuse, but in this case Somers chose to speak out.

After the murder conviction but prior to the conviction for sex abuse, MacNeill attempted to take his own life while incarcerated at the Utah County Jail in 2013.

MacNeill's first parole hearing was set for 2052.

Last month the Utah Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction. In that ruling the court acknowledged that prosecutors should have disclosed a deal that was made involving a jailhouse snitch who testified against MacNeill, however, the court found that it was not enough to change the outcome of the trial.