PROVO, Utah —
Prosecutors said MacNeill might have gotten away with a perfect murder, but his erratic behavior the day of his wife's death and shortly afterward was "dripping with motive."
They reminded jurors about testimony that MacNeill stood in the bathroom yelling what prosecutors called phony grief, "Why did you do this? All because of a stupid surgery," as paramedics tried to revive his wife.
Family testimony suggested it was MacNeill who insisted his 50-year-old wife, a former local beauty queen in her California hometown, get the surgery. Prosecutors said he used it as an excuse to mix painkillers, Valium and sleeping pills for her supposed recovery.
"Make no mistake, the defendant's fingerprints, if you will, are all over Michele's death," Grunander said.
Prosecutors say MacNeill contrived a medical condition in the weeks leading up to his wife's death, telling many around him he was dying of cancer or multiple sclerosis to absolve him of any motive in the death. He also made use of a cane and could be seen limping at times.
Investigators who subpoenaed MacNeill's own medical records found he was in good health. And they discovered something else: MacNeill had been collecting veteran benefits for decades, saying in an application he had bipolar or anti-social disorders.
MacNeill's arrest warrant contains a former girlfriend's explosive allegation — not used at the trial — that MacNeill killed a brother and tried to kill his mother long ago.
Utah investigators confirmed the brother, Rufus Roy MacNeill, was found dead in a bathtub in New Jersey. They determined MacNeill was never charged and found no indication he was ever under investigation for it.