OK Divas and Divos the Martin MacNeill Trial is going to be a doozy and one you’ll definitely want to tune into! The Trial Divas will be covering this case daily and for the first time ever.. Utah is allowing cameras in the courtroom! So… it will be live streamed and we will have the link! This case is really tragic on so many levels….an alleged murder of a beautiful mom and wife Michele MacNeill by the hands of her highly successful husband, once a doctor, Martin MacNeill. On top of that there’s a steamy affair and testimony from Michele and Martin’s children. The lawyers seem primed and ready to go so now it’s your turn to get familiar with the case and read who the players are before trial begins on October 15th. Grab a bottle of your favorite wine because this case has lot’s of details and will actually create quite the buzz all on it’s own. Until Trial Begins, The Trial Divas xoxo
Judge Derek Pullan
Judge Derek P. Pullan was appointed to the Fourth District Court in September 2003 by Gov. Michael O. Leavitt. He serves Juab, Millard, Utah, and Wasatch counties. He received a law degree from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1993, graduating cum laude. Judge Pullan worked as a law clerk at the Utah Supreme Court from 1993 to 1994. He served as a deputy county attorney in Washington and Wasatch counties from 1994 to 1999. Judge Pullan was appointed and subsequently elected to serve as the Wasatch County Attorney from 1999 to 2003. As county attorney, he acted as the elected felony prosecutor and as legal counsel to the county legislative body and executive branch. Judge Pullan was elected presiding judge in 2007 and served two terms. He is an adjunct professor at J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University where he teaches the law of evidence. Judge Pullan has been a member of the Utah Supreme Court Committee on the Civil Rules of Procedure since 2008. During the past three years, that committee has proposed substantial revisions to the civil rules aimed at reducing the cost of litigation and providing increased access to the courts.
This once prominent doctor and attorney is now charged with first-degree felony murder, obstruction of justice and second degree felony in the death of his wife Michele MacNeill back in 2007. Martin, 57, has already had a taste of prison; he served 3 years in a Texas federal penitentiary for identity fraud. MacNeill is being accused of intentionally overdosing his wife Michele a week after she had a face lift. Michele had confronted Martin on his alleged affair to Gypsy Willis (Is this name for real? lol Thinking NO) more on her later. Well Trial Junkies there are 911 calls and the dispatcher says she can still hear Martin’s “aggressive, angry and condescending” tone during the call. In fact the calls were so out of the ordinary they saved the recordings in order to provide training for other dispatchers. Martin has pled not guilty and claims he’s going to prove his innocence once trial begins.
Word has it that Martin convinced Michele she needed to have a face lift surgery. While Michele didn’t think she needed it she went through with it anyway.According to her children Michele didn’t like pain pills because they made her very ill so she didn’t take any but her husband Martin was pushing them on her. In fact, just days before her death she told one of her daughter’s “If anything happens to me make sure it wasn’t your dad.” Michele was found by her 6 year old daughter, fully clothed, in a full bathtub with her head above the water. The daughter described the water as reddish-brown and neighbors say it looked as if she was sitting. Martin however has a conflicting story and while the little girl was instructed to go get help, Martin drained the tub, called 911 numerous times and says Michele was found face down in the tub with her feet sticking out. He claims she may have fallen in due to the large amount of pain meds she was on. A complication to the case is police and paramedics were dispatched to the wrong addres. They had a hard time making out what Martin was saying on the 911 call and it caused a delay getting to the scene for quite some time.
Gypsy, who goes by numerous names, was the 34-year-old mistress of Martin MacNeill. They were together for several years before she moved in with Martin and his family as a nanny just weeks after his wife’s suspicious death in April 2007. The kids say she never took care of them and think she was involved in Michele’s death. Gypsy was also convicted of identity fraud and sentenced to federal prison for stealing the identity of Michele’s 16 year old adopted daughter. Gypsy was also convicted on a state charge after being released from federal prison. Prosecutors agreed not to seek additional jail time in exchange for her testimony against Martin. She has testified in preliminary hearings but states Martin wasn’t going to leave his wife for her and they didn’t plot and plan her death. The state feels Gypsy Willis was Martin MacNeills motive for the killing.
Alexis Somers MacNeill
You can actually call Alexis.. Dr. Alexis Somers MacNeill because she went to medical school becoming a Dr. just like her father. Alexis idolized her dad and wanted to follow in his footsteps. That was then and after the alleged murder of her mother, Alexis wants nothing more but for her father to pay for his crimes and her mother to get justice. After her father was charged with the murder Alexis stated, “It’s very bittersweet. This is our father, who we loved our whole lives and to find out who he truly is, to find out that he murdered our mother, it’s horrible.” Some of Alexis testimony won’t make it into court such as the statement Michele gave her saying “If anything happens to me, make sure it wasn’t your dad.” But what will make it in is testimony about her father’s alleged suspicious behavior leading up to her mother’s death and Martins interaction with Gypsy Willis.
Lead prosecutor Chad Grunander
Chad Grunander has been a prosecutor in the County Attorney’s Office since May of 2003 and has been assigned to prosecute felonies since 2004. Grunander has worked with some of the most demanding judges, receiving praise from them about his performance. He’s highly respected among police officers, opposing attorneys and his office for his professionalism and case preparation. In the MacNeill case Grunander didn’t want cameras in the courtroom and in fact fought pretty hard to keep them at bay. His argument was that several witnesses who are inmates in the federal prison system are afraid that if they testify they could be labeled as a “snitch” and would be in danger. Grunander said that the testimony these witnesses would provide include confessions from MacNeill about how and why he killed Michele. Lucky for all of us Trial Junkies cameras were OK’d for the first time in Utah history by the judge and we will get to see how this case unfolds. As far as the inmates testimony goes you will hear audio only.
Defense- Randy Spencer and Susanne Gustin
Susan Gustin specializes in sex crimes and has been licensed to practice law in Utah since 1991. She states she’s an “aggressive” lawyer and can hold her own in court. True Diva I’m guessing, this should be good!
Randy Spencer graduated cum laude in Japanese Studies from Brigham Young University in 1991 and graduated law school in 1994. Since entering private practice in 1999, Randy has successfully tried numerous high profile cases, many of which have been reported in the national and international news. One of these notable cases, State of Utah v. Larry Peterman, was featured on Court TV. The defense has filed lot’s of motions in this case…one asked for either the dismissal of the charges against Martin MacNeill or the disqualification of the Utah County Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case. They allege that prosecutors and investigators with the Utah County Attorneys Office kept them from more than 1,000 pages of information, some of it “explosive” that they believe points to their client’s innocence.
Sources: Fillmore/Spencer, UtahCourts.gov, Deseret News, HLN