Oct. 24, 2013 -- Two daughters of the Utah doctor on trial for allegedly killing his wife provided emotional testimony today that they believed their father was guilty.
The day his wife died, Dr. Martin MacNeill insisted on telling one daughter, Rachel MacNeill, how her mother ended up in a bathtub unconscious, even though she said she asked him to not tell her the details.
Rachel MacNeill wiped away tears, and her voice quivered at times, as she testified today at her father's murder trial in Provo, Utah.
"He said that she must have fallen, hit her head," Rachel MacNeill said. "He kept repeating that the autopsy needed to be done. I didn't want to see any of this. My mother just died, and even showing me and talking about [the] autopsy. ... It was horrible. I didn't want to know and I was concerned about my family. I didn't want to hear that."
MacNeill, 57, kept his head down for part of his daughter's testimony as she described her close relationship with him while growing up, even calling him her "best friend."
Earlier this morning, Rachel's sister, Alexis Somers, testified that she believed her father was guilty of drugging and drowning her mother, Michele MacNeill, 50, as she recovered from plastic surgery.
"Ever since the day my mom died, I was concerned that my father killed her. I've been fighting to get justice for this case ever since then," Alexis Somers testified today.
Prosecutors have painted MacNeill, a former Mormon Sunday school teacher, as a liar who was hell-bent on making his wife, Michele MacNeill, have a facelift so he could dope her up with a cocktail of drugs during her recovery and then drown her in the bathtub.
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The motive, prosecutors said, was a woman named Gypsy Willis, who MacNeill had met online more than a year and a half before he allegedly killed his former beauty queen wife.
Much of Somers' testimony focused on her interaction with her youngest sister, Ada, who was 6-years-old when she discovered her mother's body in the bathtub on April 11, 2007.
Somers said she has had custody of her youngest sister, now 12, since her mother's death.
Despite her opinion that her father is guilty, Somers said she was careful not to taint her sister's recollection of the day their mother died in case she was called to testify at the trial.
Somers said she recalled printing out a diagram, at the request of investigators, and asking Ada to draw a picture of how she remembered finding their mother.
"She was drawing the picture of how my mom was laying," Somers said. "She was saying other things like, 'The water was halfway full. The water was red.' She said her eyes were open and she said a few things that I jotted down on the diagram."
Last week, the MacNeill family's next-door neighbor, Kristi Daniels, told the jury that Ada came to her the day of her mother's death and said, "my dad needs some help."
When Daniels entered the home on April 11, 2007, she said she stood in the doorway of the bathroom where Martin MacNeill was with his wife, who was unconscious in the bathtub and whose skin was a "greenish pale" color.
"It all happened so fast," Daniels kept saying on the stand in the courtroom.
She said MacNeill asked for a male's help to get his wife out of the bathtub. At that point, Daniels said she called her husband, Doug, and told him she needed his help right away.
Doug Daniels said he arrived about 20 seconds after the call and found Michele MacNeill appearing to be "a little discolored, a little bit puffy.
"She was damp, not soaking wet," he said.
He also noticed mucus around her face and said he did not recall if her husband, who was administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, had gotten any of the mucus on himself.
However, Daniels said he remembered MacNeill having "outbursts" and that he pounded on Michele's chest with the bottom part of his hand.
It was "not real hard, but I remember thinking you wouldn't want to whack somebody like that," Daniels said. Since MacNeill is a physician, Daniels said he assumed the doctor knew what he was doing.
Less than two hours later, Michele MacNeill was pronounced dead.
MacNeill's defense lawyers said heart problems were a contributing factor in the death of the mother of eight.
The medical examiner has never determined a cause of death.