Responding officers testify in MacNeill murder case

October 04, 2012 1:47 pm  •  Jim Dalrymple – Daily Herald

PROVO — One of the first cops to arrive at the home of Martin MacNeill on April 11, 2007, Pleasant Grove officer Ray Ormond said he found a woman lying on a bathroom floor.

“She was bluish in color, kind of pale,” Ormond testified Thursday morning in court. “She had clothing on the upper half of her body, she was wet on the upper half of her body.”

The woman was MacNeill’s wife, Michele, who was pronounced dead later that day, despite efforts by Ormond and others to revive her. After an extensive investigation, prosecutors charged MacNeill with murder, saying he intentionally plotted Michele’s death.

Ormond’s testimony was part of the second day of MacNeill’s preliminary hearing, during which prosecutors have to prove they have sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. Ormond — who now works for the Lindon Police Department — said he was one of the officers dispatched to the MacNeill home after someone called for help. He said the first challenge of the call was actually finding the home.

“There were two addresses given and there was a little discrepency as to which subdivision it was in,” Ormond testified.

The confusion likely reflects a confusing and garbled 911 call MacNeill placed after finding Michele in a bathtub. Prosecutors played a recording of the call Wednesday. It depicted an angry MacNeill yelling an incomplete address and hanging up.

When Ormond finally found MacNeill’s home, he and other officers went inside and found Michele on the floor. The moved her to the nearby bedroom, he testified, and began performing CPR. Soon her color became more “fleshy” and three or four cups of clear liquid came out of her mouth. Moments later a thicker, pinkish liquid came out of her mouth.

During cross examination, defense attorney Susanne Gustin grilled Ormond about that liquid. Referencing an interview with investigators about the incident, Gustin asked why he didn’t bring up the liquid previously. Ormond responded that he was responding to the best of his memory and that at the time of the incident his sole focus was helping Michele.

Among other things, Ormond also said MacNeill’s response to the incident was abnormal. Ormond said in similar incidents he had responded to people are generally “grief-ful” but that MacNeill was so angry it made respondents’ job uncomfortable.

Following Ormond, Pleasant Grove officer Joshua Motsinger testified. Motsinger also responded to the MacNeill home on April 11, 2007, and helped perform CPR. Motsinger said he remembers seeing Michele’s still-healing cuts from her plastic surgery. He also said she was wet, wearing an LDS-type garment and a bra on her upper body, and cold.

“She was very white,” he said,  “Very white and very cold.”

Like Ormond, Motsinger said Michele discharged some liquid during CPR.

MacNeill also faces on count of obstruction of justice. His preliminary hearing is scheduled to conclude next week.

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