The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

November 9, 2013

Jury finds Utah doctor guilty in wife's death

(Continued)

PROVO, Utah —

He called the testimony of a handful of prison inmates angling for early release doubtful. The men who spent time behind bars with the doctor testified he had acknowledged killing his wife — or suggested that investigators could never prove he did it.

Spencer said MacNeill would never admit murder to strangers in prison.

MacNeill was medical director of the Utah State Development Center, a residential center for people with cognitive disorders, who moonlighted in other medical jobs, once consulting for a laser hair removal clinic. He had a law degree but wasn't known to practice law and has since surrendered his law and medical licenses.

A conviction for first-degree murder is punishable by 15 years to life. The second charge of obstruction of justice could add 1-15 years.

The highlight of the three-week trial was a mistress who MacNeill introduced as a nanny within weeks of his wife's death. His older daughters quickly recognized Gypsy Willis as his secret lover and said her mother had been arguing with her husband over the affair.

The daughters went to work uncovering what they call their father's secret life. They abandoned him while dogging authorities to open a murder investigation. It wasn't until MacNeill's release in July 2012 from a federal prison in Texas on charges of fraud that Utah prosecutors moved to file charges of murder and obstruction of justice.

Willis also served a federal sentence for using the identity of one of MacNeill's adopted daughters to escape a debt-heavy history. That daughter had been sent back to Ukraine, supposedly only for a summer.

For a time, MacNeill's only family defender was his only son. Damian, a 24-year-old law student, committed suicide in January 2010, according to his sisters, who have said he was haunted by their mother's death.

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