Jury being selected in trial of Utah doctor who allegedly gave wife fatal cocktail

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the case of a once-prominent Utah doctor accused of giving his wife a fatal cocktail of drugs six years ago so he could continue an affair.

Prosecutors have portrayed 57-year-old Martin MacNeill as a lying adulterer who pestered his 50-year-old wife to get a face-lift and persuaded her plastic surgeon to proscribe a mix of potentially lethal pills for her recovery.

Days after the 2007 procedure, the couple's then-6-year-old daughter found Michele MacNeill's body in a bathtub at the couple's home in Pleasant Grove, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Medical examiners haven't determined the cause of her death and have never ruled it a homicide.

But investigators and family members claim Martin MacNeill killed his wife to continue an affair with a woman he later moved into his home.

His attorney, Randy Spencer, has said the doctor denies having anything to do with his wife's death. Spencer did not return calls seeking comment Monday from The Associated Press.

The sordid case is certain to draw television coverage, which a Utah judge authorized last month.
Martin MacNeill was a doctor who also held a law degree. His wife was a former beauty queen whose life revolved around her eight children, family members said.

The couple's daughters have said they believe their father killed their mother. They've even sat in his court hearings holding up photographs of Michele MacNeill.

Martin MacNeill was long under suspicion by Utah County authorities for his wife's death. But he wasn't charged until about five years later, shortly after he was released from federal prison in Texas for fraud.

Both Martin MacNeill and the woman he allegedly had an affair with served prison time for fraud. The allegations included forging a document that said they were married on April 14, 2007 — the day of Michele MacNeill's funeral.

Utah County Authorities have portrayed Martin MacNeill as a man with a history of lying. In 1997, he was convicted of felony check forgery, but the case eventually was dismissed.

Investigators said he used falsified records to get into medical schools in Mexico and California, and later into Brigham Young University Law School.

In 2009, Martin MacNeill pleaded guilty to three felonies for lying to investigators.

Another case, in which he's charged with felony forcible sexual abuse, is pending in state court.

In a Provo courtroom Tuesday and Wednesday, attorneys on both sides will begin vetting potential jurists in the murder trial, which is scheduled to last six weeks.

Opening arguments and testimony are expected to begin Thursday.