An inmate who befriended Dr. Martin MacNeill testified today that while in federal prison, the Utah doctor confessed to doping up his wife and then holding her head under water to "help her out."
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"He said he gave her some oxy and some sleeping pills, then got her to get in the bath tub," a man identified as Inmate No. 1 testified. "Later on, he said he had to help her out and said he held her head under the water for a while."
The inmate, who said he is serving time for drugs and firearms offenses, met MacNeill when they were both being held at the Texarkana Federal Prison. MacNeill served time for an identity fraud conviction after his wife's death and was released from prison in July 2012.
The pair became friends, the inmate said, after they began taking a computer class together every day at the prison. He told the court that the man inmates called "doc" opened up to him on a number of occasions about his wife's death and his alleged involvement.
"He said she was in the way. She wanted the house and the kids," Inmate No. 1 said.
Today's testimony came after a brief hiccup in which media coverage of the trial inadvertently blared from the prosecutor's paralegal's laptop in the courtroom, prompting MacNeill's defense team to ask for a mistrial.
Judge Derek Pullan dismissed the request and said, "even if the jury were to hear all of that report, it would have presented no new information to them."
The trial is in its fourth of five scheduled weeks. Attorneys told ABC News that closing arguments could began as soon as the end of the week in the trial which has played out like a soap opera in the Provo, Utah, courtroom.
MacNeill, 57, is on trial for the April 11, 2007, death of his wife, Michele MacNeill, 50. The former beauty queen's cause of death has been the main source of contention between the prosecution and defense.
Prosecutors allege MacNeill persuaded his wife to have plastic surgery so he could dope her up during her recovery and then drown her -- all so he could pursue a relationship with a mistress, Gypsy Willis.
MacNeill's defense lawyers said heart problems were a contributing factor in her death. The medical examiner was never able to rule on a cause of death. However, Utah State Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Todd Grey testified last week that a drowning scenario was possible.
The mother of eight children was found unconscious in a bathtub full of brown water by the couple's 6-year-old daughter. Less than two hours later, Michele MacNeill was dead.