Mormon doctor ‘who murdered his wife moved lover into the family home just weeks later to work as his children’s nanny’
- Martin MacNeill, 56, ‘gave wife Michele lethal cocktail of drugs before she was found drowned in the bath at their home’ in 2007
- Gypsy Jyll Willis ‘met him online in 2005 and started a relationship’
- She ‘moved into a house he owned and he gave her an unlimited credit card’
- After wife’s death, MacNeill ‘orchestrated a meeting between his daughter and Willis at a Mormon temple and pretended not to know her’
A woman who had a year-long affair with a doctor before he allegedly killed his wife has testified that he moved her into his family home just weeks after the murder to be the new nanny.
Gypsy Jyll Willis detailed the clandestine relationship as she took the stand in the fifth day of a preliminary hearing of Martin MacNeill, 56, in Provo, Utah on Wednesday.
As she left the stand, she locked eyes with MacNeill, staring adoringly at him as she walked past.
MacNeill, a former Mormon Sunday school teacher and father of seven is accused of murdering his wife Michele, who was found drowned in the bathtub at their Pleasant Grove, Utah home in 2007.
He is accused of forcing her to have a face lift before giving her a cocktail of lethal drugs, which he claimed would help her recovery. She was found dead eight days later.
Willis revealed to the court that she met him online in 2005 and for the first time in person that November, before beginning a sexual relationship in January 2006, the Deseret News reported.
Yet when they began their relationship, she did not see it having a future, she said.
‘It was just for fun,’ Willis said. ‘It was whenever we could get together. It was just friendly.’
As they continued their relationship, she continued to see other men and never considered there was any chance that MacNeill would leave his wife for her, she said.
‘He had great respect and love for Michele,’ she said. ‘He said he had a family and was very happy.’
She moved into a duplex that MacNeill owned and provided her with an unlimited credit card to help her get through nursing school, she said. She used it for gas, groceries and coffee.
After the death of Michele MacNeill, which was initially ruled as natural causes, the circumstances of their relationship changed and Willis said she and her lover began talking about a future together.
‘Martin told me he felt very sorry we had been involved prior to Michele’s death,’ she said. ‘He was embarrassed about that. He wanted me to come help him and support him.’
But he wanted the children to meet their new nanny in a neutral place, which led to the bizarre circumstances of their first meeting.
One of his daughters, Rachel MacNeill, told the court that three days after her mother’s funeral, her father asked her to meet him at the LDS Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork.
‘He thought it would be a nice place and a calming environment… a conducive way to be introduced to Rachel,’ Willis explained.
At the temple, he told her he wanted them to pray for guidance about getting a new nanny and, as they left, a woman named Jyllian walked by them, Rachel MacNeill said.
Her father pretended as if he could not remember the woman well and did not know her name. He later told his children that he wanted the woman to work as their nanny.
‘She didn’t do anything that a nanny would do,’ Rachel MacNeill said. ‘I expected to see what I had seen before (with those who) had been hired as nannies, that their main focus was the children. That they were there to work … not just sitting and staring at my dad.’
After the death of his wife, MacNeill and Willis were convicted of identity fraud and served years in prison for stealing the identity of MacNeill’s 16-year-old adopted daughter.
When she left federal prison, Willis was convicted on a state charge but prosecutors agreed not to seek extra jail time – provided she testified against her lover.
Yet defense attorney Randy Spencer said he thinks the testimony did little to help their case.
Fraud: Martin MacNeill (left) and Willis (right) were convicted of thieving the identity of one of his daughters. In exchange for reduced prison time, Willis agreed to testify in the murder trial
‘Mr. MacNeill has done a lot of bad things in his life,’ he said. ‘Just because you’re a bad man, however, does not make you a murderer.’
While they were imprisoned, the couple wrote to each other and planned to make a future but now, ‘quite honestly, we have both lost everything’, she said.
After the murder, the MacNeill children fought relentless for police to re-open the case into their mother’s death, certain their father had killed her.
An autopsy indicated she died of natural causes, but a 2010 addendum to that report questioned the manner of death and authorities now believe she was drugged by her husband.
The unravelling of the MacNeill family began in 2005 when her father started losing weight, tanning and acting strangely, even disappearing for days at a time.
Stunning: MacNeill allegedly forced his wife Michele, pictured, into having a facelift and gave her a lethal mix of drugs as she was recovering. He found her dead in the bathtub of their home
Doting: Michele was described as a loving mother who did everything for her children and her husband
In 2007, Michele became convinced her husband was having an affair after she found out the same number had been called over and over again at strange hours of the morning.
A few days later, MacNeill came to his wife with a strange request: He wanted her to have a facelift.
Two weeks later, she had the surgery and was back at home recovering with Valium, Percocet, Phenergan and Ambien pills, supplied by her husband.
A few days later, as she struggled with her recovery, she told her daughter: ‘In case anything happens to me, make sure it was not your father.’
Michele was found dead in the bathtub just eight days after the surgery.
MacNeill claimed his wife slipped and fell, and he discovered her on returning home from collecting his then six-year-old daughter.
In a series of frantic 911 calls, he hung up on the operator three times in five minutes. He lied to the dispatcher about performing CPR and gave the wrong address of his residence, which delayed emergency responders, prosecutors claim.
According to an affidavit, Utah State Medical Examiner Todd Grey said the combination of medicines found in her body, which may have been forced upon her and could have been lethal.
‘When my father called I knew he’d killed her,’ Alexis Somers said. ‘I just started screaming he killed her. My father planned and orchestrated my mother’s death and thought he could get away with it.’
Family members have said they suspect Willis was also involved in Michele MacNeill’s death, but she has not been charged in the case.
The preliminary hearing is expected to finish on Thursday when Judge Samuel McVey will determine if there is enough evidence to order MacNeill to stand trial.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2216213/Martin-MacNeill-case-Mormon-doctor-murdered-wife-moved-lover-family-home-just-weeks-later-work-childrens-nanny.html#ixzz295z8L0U4
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