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Did Martin MacNeill fake CPR on wife?

  • Neighbors testify about how Michele MacNeill's body was found the morning of her death; Testimony resumes Tuesday
  • Prosecutors question whether Martin MacNeill really gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • MacNeill pleaded not guilty to murder, could face life in prison if convicted
Utah doctor Martin MacNeill is accused of drugging and drowning his wife

Martin MacNeill case: Background on the key players

Martin MacNeill case: Background on the key players

Accused of wife's murder: Who is Martin MacNeill?

Martin MacNeill is on trial for wife's drowning death.

HLN is live-blogging the Martin MacNeill murder trial. Minute-by-minute updates can be found under this story.

Testimony resumes Tuesday in the  trial against Martin MacNeill, a former Utah doctor accused of drugging and drowning his wife, Michele.

A bathtub took center stage Friday as neighbors testified about how Michele was found and questioning whether her husband was actually trying to breathe life into her limp body after they pulled her out.

Martin MacNeill is accused of murder and obstruction of justice in the death of his wife, who had a powerful cocktail of drugs in her system on April 11, 2007 following a facelift surgery. He has pleaded not guilty and could face life in prison if convicted.

The three neighbors recounted the following from that morning:

  • The MacNeills' 6-year-old daughter, Ada, ran to the neighbor's house asking for help.
  • Neighbor Kristi Daniels ran to the MacNeill family home, saw the scene and ran back to her home to call her husband, Doug Daniels. When she returned to the bathroom with another neighbor, Angie Aguilar, Martin MacNeill told them he needed a man's help. Doug Daniels arrived immediately after.
  • Michele MacNeill was slumped over in the tub, with her head near the faucet and her feet "collapsed down inside. Her knees were kind of up and her feet were tucked down in the tub," said Doug Daniels. Martin MacNeill was hunched over the tub at Michele's head.
  • There was no water visible in the tub. "In my mind, the tub was empty," said Kristi Daniels.
  • Doug Daniels helped grab Michele's feet while Martin MacNeill grabbed her from under her armpits. Kristi Daniels agreed to start chest compressions while Martin MacNeill agreed to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Doug Daniels took over compressions and sent his wife Kristi to meet rescuers outside. He described Martin MacNeill's behavior as "very analytical and very in control and very calm. And other times he was, you know, a little bit frustrated and he would holler out. A couple of times he would tell me to stop and he would thump on her chest -- I believe he did it two or maybe three times -- where he would beat on her chest with the bottom part of his hand. I assumed it was to try and start her heart or something. So he would have a bit of an outburst and then tell me calmly, 'OK, continue.'"
  • Martin MacNeill was also making comments such as, "Why, why would you do this? All because of a stupid surgery," according to Doug Daniels.
  • All three neighbors saw a lot of mucus around Michele MacNeill's nose and mouth but never saw this transfer to her husband, who was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Doug Daniels admitted on cross-examination, however, that he said in the past that he saw Martin MacNeill grab for something to wipe the mucus from Michele's face.
  • The neighbors also say they never saw Michele's chest rise as her husband was breathing for her. "He very easily could have been doing nothing, you know what I mean?" said Doug Daniels.
  • A police officer who took over CPR later on the scene, however, said he couldn't say with 100% certainty whether Michele's chest rose as he was giving her breaths.
  • This same police officer, Ray Ormond, also described how Michele expelled three to four cups of fluid once they took over CPR. He also testified that he heard gurgling sounds coming from her lungs. "Typically it's indicative of fluid in the lungs," he said.

Prosecutors tried to prove two main points with the day's testimony: That Martin MacNeill didn't really attempt life-saving procedures on his wife and that the way he said he found her body was inconsistent with other witnesses on the scene.

During opening statements, prosecutor Sam Pead said MacNeill told investigators he found his wife slumped over the side of the tub, with her head down in the water. Ormond, however, told jurors he overheard MacNeill saying that morning that he found his wife slumped down inside the tub -- not over the edge. Ormond is the first police officer to take the stand.

In opening statements, defense attorney Susanne Gustin said investigators were so determined to incriminate Martin MacNeill that they turned a blind eye to the scientific evidence, which she said shows Michele died from natural causes.

Martin MacNeill's murder trial is expected to take approximately five weeks. Court is not in session on Mondays, so testimony will resume Tuesday morning.

HLN is live-blogging the second day of testimony. Click here for Thursday's opening statements. Read below for minute-by-minute updates from the MacNeill murder trial (best read from the bottom up):

4:58 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed jurors for the weekend. Testimony will begin again Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

4:57 p.m. ET: Michele's body wasn't stiff from being deceased, according to Ormond. He has been excused.

4:56 p.m. ET: Ormond marks on a diagram where everything happened.

4:53 p.m. ET: Juror question: “When you arrived was their mucus on Michele MacNeill’s face area?”

“To my best recollection, I don’t recall if there was or was not,” said Ormond.

Juror question: “Was Michele wearing both the black shirt and the white t-shirt when you arrived?”

“Yes, like I stated, she had a bra, some type of white shirt on and a black garment, speaking generally, over the top,” said Ormond.

Juror question: How much fluid came out the second time?

“It wasn’t as much the first time but it was a little bit harder to estimate as her head was tipped to the side. Less than three cups,” said Ormond.

4:48 p.m. ET: The judge is reviewing jury questions with the attorneys.

4:45 p.m. ET: "You don’t know what his baseline -- what his normal personality was?" asked defense attorney Susanne Gustin.

"No," said Ormond.

"You don’t know if he was a kind of over-the-top personality? Pushy, animated?" asked Gustin.

"No, that was the first time I had seen the defendant according to my recollection," said Ormond.

Ormond clarifies that MacNeill said his wife's body was slumped in -- not over -- the tub.

4:40 p.m. ET: Ormond said Michele's clothes and hair were "sopping wet."

4:39 p.m. ET: "When I was doing the rescue breaths, as I would provide breaths, I honestly don’t 100% recall if her chest rose or not. I think it may have but I don’t 100% recall," said Ormond. The prosecution has concluded its direct examination.

4:36 p.m. ET: "My feelings at that point were more of an officer safety issue. Was it going to go from me doing compressions to having to restrain him or defend myself?" said Ormond.

Ormond overheard MacNeill tell an officer that he found his wife slumped over in the bathtub.

4:34 p.m. ET: "He appeared to be agitated. He would sporadically yell several different things. My focus was on Michele and it would break that concentration to see what was going on," said Ormond. "He was yelling, in references to why she had the surgery, the fact that she was on a lot of medication, at us to try different things, why weren’t the EMTs there faster."

4:32 p.m. ET: "During that incident I was told by a supervisor to go home and change," said Ormond.

4:30 p.m. ET: Ormond is now explaining the fluid that came from Michele's mouth as they performed CPR: "It was clear and there was quite a lot of fluid that come out. If I had to estimate, I’d say three cups. We turned her head to the side so the fluid wouldn’t go back into her. At that point more fluid came out. That fluid was more frothy, mucus-y, it was cloudy and it had a tint of blood to it."

4:28 p.m. ET: Ormond is allowed to explain the gurgling: "Typically it’s indicative of fluid in the lungs." Ormond describes Michele's body as wet and cool to the touch.

4:26 p.m. ET: The defense objected when Pead started asking Ormond to explain what the gurgling sounds indicate. Attorneys are at a sidebar.

4:24 p.m. ET: "I could hear a gurgling coming from her lungs. When we moved her into the carpeted area and I took over compressions, when I would do the compressions, I could hear the gurgling in her lungs," said Osmond. He also noticed Michele's color go from pale blue to pink and her surgical wounds start to bleed.

4:22 p.m. ET: Ormond is showing on a diagram where Michele's body was found and where they moved her into the bedroom to give them better access to her body. There was a normal bed and a hospital bed in the couple's bedroom.

4:19 p.m. ET: There was a pink, kidney-shaped container on the bedroom nightstand with pill bottles, according to Ormond. He says Michele was blue/gray in color.

"That’s indicative of two things: lack of respiration, lack of cardiovascular circulation," said Ormond.

4:17 p.m. ET: Ormond and his partner took over CPR when they arrived.

"She was on the ground lying on her back. The upper half of her torso was wet. She had clothing on the upper half of her torso. She had no clothing from the waist down. Her hair was wet," said Ormond.

4:15 p.m. ET: There was some confusion about the MacNeill address but Ormond says dispatch was able to sort it out.

4:12 p.m. ET: The prosecution has called Ray Ormond to the witness stand. He has been a police officer in the state of Utah since 2005.

4:11 p.m. ET: Juror question: "When you cleaned up the MacNeill’s bathroom, what exactly did you clean up?"

Daniels said there was a little bit of water and mucus where Michele's body was, some mucus on the tub's edge and a spot on the carpet just inside the bedroom that was set into the carpet.

The witness has been excused.

4:06 p.m. ET: Daniels said that Michele's mucus was a mess and "something I didn’t want to be a part of it." He also says he wasn't paying close attention and that Martin MacNeill "very easily could have been doing nothing" when he was supposed to be giving her mouth-to-mouth.

4:04 p.m. ET: Perkins has finished his re-direct examination of Daniels. The prosecution is asking more questions.

3:58 p.m. ET: Doug Daniels remembers a bra being present but he can't say if it was in the bathroom, bedroom or laundry room.

3:55 p.m. ET: Michele MacNeill weighed about 180 pounds at the time of her death. Doug said he was pretty athletic back then and could have lifted Michele's body out of the bathtub on his own.

"I definitely could have. If I had been the only one there it would have been easy," Daniels said.

3:51 p.m. ET: In a preliminary hearing, Daniels said it appeared Martin MacNeill put his mouth directly over his wife's mouth and held her nose closed.

3:49 p.m. ET: Daniels is trying to describe what the mucus around Michele's mouth and nose looked like. In a preliminary hearing he said it was mostly clear but also said it might have been a light green color.

3:46 p.m. ET: Martin MacNeill made an attempt to remove the mucus from his wife's mouth while performing CPR on her, according to Daniels.

3:44 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Spencer begins his cross-examination of Doug Daniels. The call that Doug's wife made to him, summoning for help, came at 11:53 a.m. Doug Daneils earlier said that when he arrived on scene, it appeared Martin MacNeill was trying to push on his wife's chest.

3:40 p.m. ET: The judge informs the jury that the tub being used in the courtroom is not the same one from the family's home but is the same make and model.

3:39 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated.

3:36 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench. The jury is not present as the attorneys approach for a sidebar.

2:31 p.m. ET: The judge has dismissed the jurors for lunch. Court will resume at 3:30 p.m. ET.

2:26 p.m. ET: Several members of Michele's family are in the courtroom again today.

2:24 p.m. ET: A week or two after Michele's death, he began to see Jillian and Martin together often. The two would appear to take trips together without the children. Doug spoke to Martin about whether they were getting married. He recalls this was approximately six months to a year after Michele's death.

2:21 p.m. ET: Martin later told Doug that Michele died from a blood clot and that "there was nothing anyone could have done."

2:16 p.m. ET: After the ambulance left, Doug looked for towels to clean up the bathroom. The towels he found in the laundry room were damp and felt "recently used."

2:13 p.m. ET: Michele's body was not rigid and her skin did not feel cold while we were doing CPR, said Doug.

2:09 p.m. ET: According to Doug, during CPR, Martin had several outbursts and beat on Michele's chest with his fist. Martin yelled out, "Why would you do this? All because of a stupid surgery?"

2:04 p.m. ET: Doug took over CPR compressions for his wife so she could go outside and watch for the ambulance. Martin "appeared to give mouth-to-mouth," he said. Doug said there was a lot of mucus on Michele's face, but never any on Martin's, and he never saw Michele's chest rise.

1:59 p.m. ET: Doug recalled Michele wearing only a spaghetti-strap tank top and nothing on the bottom. He testified that it did not look to him like she had fallen. He and Martin lifted her out of the bathtub together.

1:56 p.m. ET: When Doug entered the MacNeill's bathroom, he saw Martin, Kristi and Angie. Michele was collapsed inside the bathtub -- her head was under the faucet and her feet were at the opposite end. Doug used the demonstrative bathtub to show how Michele was positioned the day of the incident. Perkins asked if Michele was wet. Doug said she was damp, but not wet.

1:53 p.m. ET: On April 11, 2007, he received a call from Kristi. She was hurried and out of breath and said she was at the MacNeills. He hung up and came right over.

1:49 p.m. ET: Doug and his wife, Kristi, were neighbors with the MacNeills. He said Martin would sometimes "show up limping or wearing a boot" and Doug would ask him about it. Doug got the idea he was struggling with cancer or something else.

1:44 p.m. ET: Doug Daniels is called to the stand.

1:43 p.m. ET: The witness is excused.

1:35 p.m. ET: Gustin clarifies some of Angie's previous testimony. Angie stated that she saw blood coming from Michele's surgical incisions during CPR and that Martin was pacing outside, not in the bathroom. 

1:34 p.m. ET: Cross-examination by Gustin.

1:30 p.m. ET: Martin brought Jillian to meet Angie approximately a week after the funeral. He said Jillian was going to be a nanny for his girls. Martin had once asked Angie to ask another neighbor to let Jillian housesit for them. The neighbor had declined. Angie recognized her as the same woman.

1:26 p.m. ET: Sometime after the funeral, Martin told Angie they had found an arrhythmia. Martin stated to her, "it's good to know."

1:21 p.m. ET: Angie attended Michele's funeral and helped make arrangements for the younger MacNeill girls. On the day of the funeral, Angie described Martin as "very calm, drinking a Dr. Pepper" and making pleasant chit-chat with her.

1:15 p.m. ET: Angie said she and Doug grabbed a pink towel and covered Michele up before EMTs arrived. She recalled Martin saying, "I told her not to do this. I told her not to do this." She did not know what that was in reference to.

1:11 p.m. ET: Michele was wearing a white undershirt and nothing else, according to Angie. "Her skin was grey and she was damp. There was no blood in the bathroom," she said. "What was Martin doing?" asked Perkins "Nothing. I don't remember Martin doing anything," she said.

1:09 p.m. ET: Angie steps off the jury stand to demonstrate Michele's position in the bathtub.

1:06 p.m. ET: According to Angie, she and Kristi ran to the MacNeill's and entered the bathroom. She saw Michele in the bathtub. Her head was slumped below the rim on the side with the faucet and her feet were at the other end of the tub.

1:01 p.m. ET: On April 11, 2001, Angie was at Kristi's house. Ada came and calmly said her dad needs help. Kristi ran over to the MacNeill's and immediately came back.

12:57 p.m. ET: Angie and the MacNeills knew each other but did not associate much. They attended the same LDS church. Angie said Martin taught Sunday School and she attended his class. According to Angie, "Martin discussed his deteriorating heath during one of his lessons."

12:54 p.m. ET: The State calls Angie Aguilar to the stand. She is a neighbor of the MacNeill's. She lived across the park from them.

12:51 p.m. ET The jury is being seated.

12:18 p.m. ET: The witness is excused. The court is taking a short recess.

12:11 p.m. ET: The jury has questions for Kristi.

Q: How did Michele's shirt come off? A: Her tank top came up over her chest area during compressions. I have no idea how the black t-shirt came off.

Q: Was Michele's shirt wet? A: Not that I recall.

Q: Where is the park [where you saw Jillian] in relation to the two houses? A: All the front doors face a five acre park in the middle.

12:05 p.m. ET: According to Kristi, she was sure Michele was wearing only a black t-shirt, white tank top and no undergarments. On the morning of April 11, 2007, she didn't see anyone coming or going from the MacNeill home. Prior to Michele's death, Kristi remembers Martin walking with a boot and cane, but doesn't recall exactly when.

12:01 p.m. ET: Cross examination by Randy Spencer.

11:56 a.m. ET: Kristi saw Jillian around the neighborhood about 3 weeks after Michele's death but was never officially introduced to her. She knew her as the MacNeill girls' nanny.

11:51 a.m. ET: Martin told Kristi Michele had died of a heart problem "like the basketball player over at the basketball court." She inquired how he was dealing with her death since she believed he only had six months left to live at that point.

11:46 a.m. ET: Doug took over and continued CPR so she could wait in the driveway for the ambulance to arrive.

11:39 a.m. ET: Michele's hair was not wet, according to Kristi. When Doug arrived, he and Martin lifted her out of the tub and placed her on the bathroom floor. Daniels and Martin then performed CPR on Michele.

11:34 a.m. ET: Kristi recalled Michele wearing a black, long-sleeved t-shirt and no bottoms. She left the MacNeill home to run and call her husband Doug and get her friend Angie, who was next door at her house.

11:28 a.m. ET: Kristi stepped off the stand and approached the bathtub in the courtroom to demonstrate Michele's position on April 11, 2007. "She was kind of slumped down - I couldn't see her face," said Kristi."

11:21 a.m. ET: Photo of MacNeill bathroom is shown. Kristi describes scene from that day. She recalls seeing Michele's feet inside the tub and her head under the faucet. Martin was leaning over Michele's face, she said. She did not see any blood or water in the tub. 

11:15 a.m. ET: Kristi described her how close her house was in relation to the MacNeill's house. On April 11, 2007, Ada MacNeill knocked on her door saying her dad needed help. Kristi walked towards the house and heard Martin screaming.

11:11 a.m. ET: Kristi Daniels called to stand. Daniels is the former neighbor of the MacNeills. Direct examination by Perkins.

11:06 a.m. ET: Defense attorney Spencer asked, "Was it your understanding that Mr. MacNeill was performing CPR on his wife?" Peterson responded, "Yes." The defense replays the call in slow motion and suggests that MacNeill actually gave the correct address and Peterson heard it incorrectly. Peterson is excused.

11:02 a.m. ET: When MacNeill originally called 911, Peterson said he hung up on her and she had to call him back. Peterson testified he also gave an incorrect address.

10:58 a.m. ET: Direct examination by Sam Pead. 911 call by Martin MacNeill is played.

10:55 a.m. ET: Heidi Peterson (formerly Johnson) takes the stand. Worked as Pleasant Grove dispatch manager. On April 11, 2007 took 911 call from MacNeill home.

10:53 a.m. ET: The judge has taken the bench and the jury is being seated.

10:46 a.m. ET: The bathtub will be used as a demonstrative aid. It is not the actual bathtub Michele was discovered in, but is the same make and model.

10:41 a.m. ET: A bathtub is being set-up in the courtroom for one of the witnesses. 

10:26 a.m. ET: The court is in a short recess.

10:22 a.m. ET: Attorneys are discussing issues before the judge - outside the jury's presence.

10:00 a.m. ET: Testimony is scheduled to begin today at 10:30 a.m. ET. 

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Newscast plays in court, defense asks for mistrial
Martin MacNeill Trial | See all 187 items Newscast plays in court, defense asks for mistrial