PROVO — After deliberating for just over two hours, a jury of five women and three men on Thursday found convicted wife-killer Martin MacNeill guilty of sexually abusing his own daughter.
Dr. MacNeill showed no emotion as the verdict was read. His accuser, Alexis Somers, hugged her relatives as she sat in the courtroom.
FOX 13 typically does not name sexual abuse victims without their consent. However, after her testimony Thursday, Somers said she wished to speak about the case, calling her father “a murderer and sexual predator.”
“I'm relieved. It was the right verdict. He's a sexual predator and there's some justice,” Somers told reporters outside court.
Somers claimed her father had sexually abused others, but she refused to elaborate.
In her testimony, Somers claimed she had been cleaning out her mother’s bedroom after her death in 2007 when she fell asleep on the bed. She said she was awakened by her father, who had his hand down her pants, groped her buttocks and was “licking and kissing” her hand.
Under cross-examination Thursday, defense attorneys claimed Somers had a vendetta against her father — accusing him of murdering her mother, Michele. MacNeill’s defense attorney, Randy Spencer, noted that she waited to report the abuse until she was going to lose custody of her siblings.
“I was feeling panic, horror, fear that my sisters were not safe,” she told the jury. “They were at the home of someone who just murdered my mom.”
Somers’ sister, Rachel MacNeill, also testified against her father claiming that during a family meeting shortly after the incident, Martin MacNeill admitted “something had happened.”
Spencer also questioned Rachel’s account, saying she did not report the alleged abuse to anyone. He pointed to an email where she raised concerns about a “nanny” his father had hired, a woman who turned out to be his mistress.
“You don’t mention any sexual things,” he told her.
“Or him murdering my mother,” she snapped back.
Dr. MacNeill was convicted last year of drugging and drowning his wife, Michele, so he could continue an affair with another woman. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on that charge.
MacNeill faces up to 15 years in prison on the sex abuse charge. Outside court, Spencer told FOX 13 he anticipated an appeal.
"Of course he's very disappointed," Spencer said of MacNeill. "Not terribly surprised in the way he's been treated in the judicial system, but he's very disappointed."