It is expected to last 4-5 weeks, yet the sordid and strange life of Dr. Martin MacNeill should play out like a bad made for TV movie: a mistress named "Gypsy", witnesses referred to as "Inmate #1 and "Inmate #2" and a life so twisted it's hard to believe this is real. Utah vs. Martin MacNeill has been a long time in the making. This is a story so strange and so disturbing.
Martin MacNeill is charged with murder, a first degree felony and obstruction of justice, a second degree felony in the death of his 50 year old wife Michele on April 11, 2007. The pre-trial motions have been filed fast and furiously. The defense motion to not allow Michele to be referred to as the "victim" was granted by the trial judge. Two prosecution witnesses will be referred to only as Inmate #1 and Inmate #2 and will not be photographed during the trial to protect their identities - they both served time with the bad doctor in federal prison. Everybody knows snitches are targets in prison environments.
A defense motion to exclude improper comments during opening and closing statements was granted after they argued their concerns that the prosecutor could make statements that would "invoke the jury's passions". Court documents show the defense has requested that the prosecutors not make references to MacNeills' morality in light of his lengthy affair with Gypsy Willis. The court also ruled that some of daughter Alexis Somers statements would be allowed, and others would not - including any hearsay evidence. Alexis Somers told investigators that her mother told her "if anything happens to me, make sure it wasn't your father", or something similar.
Another woman MacNeill had an affair with is also expected to be a witness for the prosecution - her testimony will also be limited. Anna Osborne Walthall is the woman who told authorities that MacNeill talked about his ability to kill people without being detected. She may be the same woman MacNeill reportedly told that he killed his older brother, and tried to kill his own mother. The defense also filed a motion to disqualify the prosecutor in the case. MacNeill's attorney alleged the prosecutor failed to provide requested information that may have helped their client in a timely manner. 4th District Judge Samuel McVey ruled that any issues had either been resolved or were not prejudicial - and the trial would proceed as planned.
I'm a little confused at the restrictions on the state's opening and closing statements. Don't defense attorneys routinely try to invoke a jury's passions? Recall the big trials like OJ Simpson's, Casey Anthony's and Jodi Arias' trial where bombshell allegations were made - baseless allegations, I should say. Why aren't their hands tied? And why can't Michele be referred to as the victim? I can see where that implies a crime was committed, but she was a victim of either an accidental overdose/drowning or an intentional overdose and drowning - either way, she IS a victim. This stuff irritates me. I suppose we are supposed to see MacNeill as the victim? Persecuted because he had an affair with a woman named Gypsy, coerced his former beauty queen wife into having unnecessary plastic surgery, banning daughter Alexis from the family because she dared to question his version of events on the day her mother died? Yeah, I can see how Martin is the victim.
MacNeill IS guilty of doing some hideous things to his family. He made one of his children call Michele's two brothers who had driven from California to Utah for her funeral and tell them not to come. That's a fact. Three days after her funeral, MacNeill brought daughter Rachel to a Mormon Temple to "pray" for a nanny, and enter stage left - there's Gypsy Willis, meet the new nanny. That's a fact. He pretended not to know her, like some sort of divine intervention brought Gypsy into the MacNeill's life in their time of need. Fact. He barred daughter Alexis from speaking to her siblings and family after she dared to ask questions about her mom's death. Fact. He instructed his son Damian to get rid of the remaining drugs prescribed to Michele shortly after she died, essentially removing potential evidence of a crime. That's a fact. He moved nanny-Gypsy into the family home within weeks of Michele's death, fact!
Will MacNeill's white collar rap sheet make it's way into the trial? MacNeill was indicted for fraud, forgery, aggravated identity theft, insurance fraud, improper use of a social security number and the list goes on. He and Willis even jacked adopted daughter Giselle's name, and Willis stole her identity after MacNeill sent her back to the Ukraine and left her to fend for herself there, away from the siblings she grew up with in America. Fact. This guy is a real piece of work. I can see why the defense has filed as many motions as they have - this is one despicable man. By all accounts, he was not a good husband and an even worse father, to at least some of their biological and adopted children. MacNeill even had a charge of sexually abusing Alexis. All of the things he did, and add to that potentially murdering his wife.
This should be a trial full of shocking and confrontational testimony. The doctor/attorney's dirty laundry list is long. How much will the jury hear? The testimony around the 911 call and the events of April 11, 2007 are at the heart of this trial. Martin MacNeill is guilty of a lot more than he's on trial for. Stay tuned, this should be a doozy.