Jurors open up about their decision in MacNeill murder trial
PROVO –Members of the jury that convicted Dr. Martin MacNeill spoke to FOX 13′s Ben Winslow about the verdict that found him guilty of murder and obstruction of justice in his wife’s death.
The two women and four men agreed to be interviewed did not want their last names used. Jurors told FOX 13 it was the totality of the circumstances surrounding the death of Michele MacNeill that led them to believe her husband was responsible.
Prosecutors contended that in 2007, Dr. MacNeill drugged his wife as she recovered from plastic surgery, lured her to a bathtub and drowned her. It was so he could continue an affair with another woman.
“All these different red flags, signs that kind of led to him killing Michele,” said Steve, who was the jury foreman.
Randy said it was the destruction of evidence — ordering the disposal of Michele’s medications shortly after she died — that helped to convince him of Dr. MacNeill’s guilt.
“When you look at the things that Martin did, you find there’s a calculating nature and you find that there’s an ability in him to predict the outcome of his actions,” he told FOX 13.
Ken said that he believed that as a physician, Dr. MacNeill’s response to his wife being found in the bathtub was suspect.
“For me, there was some key points that I thought were of primary interest,” Ken said. “One of them being that a doctor would not do everything that he could to perform CPR.”
Kitty said there was no particular piece of testimony that led her to make the decision to convict Dr. MacNeill, but “the big picture.”
“We felt that there was just too much time there that wasn’t accounted for, that gave him the opportunity to commit this crime,” she said of the timeline of events surrounding Michele’s death and her husband’s whereabouts.
While many of the jurors said they found Dr. MacNeill’s daughter, Alexis Somers, to be a credible witness, Randy said he could see that she was “very, very involved” in seeing her father convicted.
Jenna said it was Somers’ testimony that finally persuaded her that Dr. MacNeill may, in fact, be guilty.
“I went into this, thinking he is innocent,” she told FOX 13. “With every piece of evidence that was going along, I tried to look for holes thinking, ‘Oh he’s still innocent. He’s still innocent.’ But then when Alexis came, it kind of swayed me and I turned and thought, ‘Oh, maybe he is guilty.’”
The jurors did not even consider the testimony of five inmates who claimed Dr. MacNeill made statements while incarcerated that were tantamount to a confession. Stuart said there was “too much bias, too much ulterior motive,” so they threw it out.
“There is no direct evidence, especially if you take out the inmates’ testimony,” Stuart said. “But we feel there was so much circumstantial evidence that for us, for me at least, there’s no other reasonable conclusion that Martin was responsible for her death.”
The jurors also did not believe the testimony of Dr. MacNeill’s mistress, Gypsy Willis.
“For me, you can tell when a person is minimizing the response they give to a question so as only to answer in the barest bones kind of way,” Randy said. “She did that every time.”
Members of the jury said they got along well with each other, and said they decided to keep deliberating early into the morning because they were making progress. The 911 call made by Dr. MacNeill was the final piece of evidence. Steve, the jury foreman, said he wanted to hear it one last time to hear Dr. MacNeill’s voice and determine if he was acting or not.
It wasn’t until after the trial that the jury learned of the intense interest in the murder trial. Steve said many trial observers read too much into their body language, interpreting actions as either interest or boredom.
Kitty said there were times when the questioning by attorneys became tedious. Steve said he was struck by how many people interpreted him leaning forward in the jury box as agreement with an attorney’s argument.
The simple explanation? Steve had a sore back.
More on the MacNeill murder trial jury’s interviews with FOX 13′s Ben Winslow on FOX 13 News and fox13now.com…