Doctor Who Drugged, Drowned Wife Dies in Utah Prison

Martin MacNeill likely killed himself, his lawyer says
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2017 10:51 AM CDT
Doctor Who Drugged, Drowned Wife Dies in Utah Prison
Martin MacNeill in an Oct. 10, 2012, file photo.   (Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

A Utah doctor serving a life sentence for murdering his wife and making it look like an accident died in a Utah State Prison facility over the weekend, and his lawyer believes it was probably suicide, the Deseret News reports. Martin MacNeill, age 60 or 61, was found unresponsive Sunday morning in an outside yard at the prison system's Olympus unit, which the Salt Lake Tribune notes is meant for prisoners who are suffering from mental illness. Correctional officers tried to revive MacNeill, but he was pronounced dead at the prison after emergency responders arrived. A Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman says there was no sign of foul play, and his attorney, Randy Spencer, says his client had spoken before of life in prison being "no life" at all. "I feared that this day would come," Spencer tells the News.

After a crime-tainted life that one investigator compared to the movie Catch Me If You Can, complete with accusations of fraud and theft, the dad of eight was convicted of murder in 2013 of the 2007 death of wife, Michele MacNeill. Prosecutors argued he had drugged and drowned her in a bathtub so he could be with his mistress. Suicide was no stranger in MacNeill's family: The News notes a brother and sister of MacNeill reportedly took their own lives, a son overdosed on prescription drugs, and repeated suicide threats by MacNeill himself. MacNeill had also received a prison sentence for sexually abusing an adult daughter, just weeks after her mom was killed, with MacNeill telling her, "I thought you were your mother" after she'd fallen asleep on her parents' bed. (An Ohio inmate on death row killed himself last month.)

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