Utah Court of Appeals upholds Dr. Martin MacNeill’s murder conviction

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a doctor accused of killing his wife so he could carry on an affair with another woman.

In a ruling issued Friday, the state appeals court acknowledged that prosecutors should have disclosed a deal struck with a jailhouse snitch who testified against Dr. Martin MacNeill. However, the court said it was not enough to change the outcome of his high-profile murder trial.

“In sum, MacNeill has demonstrated no abuse of discretion by the trial court,” Judge Frederic Voros wrote in the opinion.

Martin MacNeill enters the courtroom before his sentencing Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Provo, Utah. (Courtroom pool photo/AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

MacNeill was convicted in the 2007 death of his wife, Michelle. Prosecutors accused him of drugging and drowning her to make it appear like an accident. At the time, he was having an affair with another woman.

A key issue in his appeal were promises made by a prosecution investigator to a jailhouse informant that MacNeill’s attorney argued should have been used to impeach the witness during the trial. A lower court rejected MacNeill’s claims, and he went to the Utah Court of Appeals seeking to have his conviction overturned.

“We discern no flaw in the trial court’s ruling. (State Investigator Jeff) Robinson’s blatantly false statements had the potential to subvert the course of justice. But in the end, they did not,” Judge Voros wrote.

MacNeill is serving up to life in prison for the crime. His first parole hearing is scheduled for 2052.

Read the Utah Court of Appeals ruling here: