Martin MacNeill trial: Timeline

Former Utah doctor and attorney Martin MacNeill is accused of drugging and drowning his wife in 2007 to continue an affair. Click on the dots of this interactive timeline to see the major twists and turns in MacNeill's case.
March 2005
Anna Walthall testified that she started a sexual relationship with Martin MacNeill around this time. The pair would have conversations about religion, life and death. During one of these “pillow talk” conversations, Walthall testified that MacNeill told her he knew how -- without being detected -- to make it look like someone had had a heart attack. The judge banned additional testimony from Walthall about statements she claimed MacNeill made about how he tried to kill his mother when he was 8 years old, that he killed his brother by drowning him and that he offered to kill her husband. On cross-examination, Walthall admitted to having dreams about the case and being diagnosed with dissociative personality disorder.
November 2005
Gypsy Willis says she met Martin MacNeill online around this time. This is around the same time Walthall said she stopped seeing MacNeill because she moved away.
January 2006
Willis says her relationship with MacNeill turned sexual. “We would see each other about a couple times a month … it was a very casual thing, just whenever we had time and it could be arranged. We probably had sex about half the time. Sometimes it was just lunch,” Willis testified.
March 2007
The prosecution claims MacNeill’s affair with Gypsy Willis began to heat up. Willis testified that this is when she moved closer to MacNeill. She also said that he starting paying for her rent and other expenses. Willis also wrote two e-mails sent to a potential suitor in March 2007, which she read for jurors. She told the man about her “good friend” (who she later admitted was MacNeill) and how she “met him online a year and a half ago. We’ve always been great together … and just recently his reasoning and views changed and we are together now.”
April 1st, 2007
Michele MacNeill attends her last consultation before her face-lift procedure, according to Dr. Scott Thompson, her plastic surgeon. On the car ride there, Michele MacNeill expressed hesitations about having the surgery, according to her daughter, Alexis Somers. "He [Martin MacNeill] got really angry at my mom and said, 'No you cannot do that. If you don’t have the surgery now you’re not getting it.' He was raising his voice and very animated and also said that he had already paid for the anesthesiologist and the operating suite," said Somers. "And he also said if we didn’t go through with the surgery, Dr. Thompson would be out a lot of money." Thompson testified that it was Michele MacNeill’s’s domineering husband who asked him to prescribe more medications than he normally would have, including the Valium, Percocet, Phenergan and Ambien that were found in her system the day she died. "Martin indicated to me that he was very concerned about his wife, that she didn’t handle pain well, that she got very anxious and he was just concerned that she wouldn’t do well without having these other options available,” said Thompson.
April 3, 2007
Michele MacNeill undergoes cosmetic surgery.
April 5, 2007
The night after Michele MacNeill’s surgery, Somers said her dad “insisted” she not sleep in their room, by her mom’s side. The next morning, on April 5, 2007, Somers said her mom was unresponsive. "I went to my father and I said, 'What happened? Obviously mom is overmedicated.' He said, 'Yeah, I think I gave her too much medicine. I must have given her too much medicine,'" Somers testified. "I asked her what happened... She said, 'Lexi, I don’t know why but your dad kept giving me medication. He kept giving me things, telling me to swallow.' She said, ‘I even started to throw up...' She was upset. I knew my mom -- I could hear it in her voice.” The judge didn’t allow Somers to testify about another statement she said her mom made to her: "If anything happens to me, make sure it wasn't your dad."
April 10, 2007
Alexis Somers, who was a first-year medical student at the time, returns to Nevada to continue with her schooling.
April 11, 2007
Michele MacNeill’s lifeless body is found in the family’s bathtub by her 6-year-old adopted daughter, Ada MacNeill. Several drugs -- including Valium, Percocet, Phenergan and Ambien -- were found in her system.
April 12, 2007
An autopsy is performed on Michele MacNeill by Dr. Maureen Frikke. Frikke determines Michele died “as the consequence of natural cardiovascular disease.
April 14, 2007
Michele MacNeill’s funeral. Several of Michele’s friends testified that MacNeill spoke at the funeral, but talked mainly about himself. Rachel MacNeill, the couple’s daughter, also testified that she overheard her father joking around at a luncheon following the funeral. “He was making jokes about being single and just laughing -- made me sick. I left," Rachel MacNeill said.
April/May 2007
Gypsy Willis moves into the MacNeill family’s home and assumes the role of nanny. “I expected her to be focused on the children,” Rachel MacNeill testified. “To cook or clean or take care of the children. My dad was cooking, she was sitting there staring at my dad -- things like that. The children were taking care of themselves... there was nobody looking after the children. It was very, very different than when my mother was there.”
June 2007
MacNeill’s oldest daughters say they were kicked out of the family home.
July 2007
Martin MacNeill proposes to Gypsy Willis. "They were both very, very happy and he made a speech about his love for her and made a very public show of dropping to one knee and asking her to marry him and she said, 'Yes,' and it was a happy event," said Gypsy’s mother, Vicki Willis. "Frankly, we were giddy about Martin joining the family. Martin MacNeill is a very impressive person. He’s tall, he has a bright white smile. He holds the title of doctor and also attorney… we were pleased, of course. Who wouldn’t be?" Vicki Willis also testified that it was shortly after the couple’s engagement when Martin MacNeill made a startling confession about his love for his wife. "He said to me that he had never loved Michele. And then he amended that to say, ‘Well I did, I loved her as a sister but I did not love her the way I love Gypsy,'" Vicki Willis testified.
October 3, 2007
Alexis Somers, one of Martin MacNeill’s biological daughters, accuses him of sexual abuse for inappropriately touching her buttocks.
September 2008
A new medical examiner who was asked to review Michele MacNeill’s case sends an e-mail to investigators, telling them he won’t amend her cause of death. Dr. Todd Grey told them there is "nothing in the autopsy or toxicology findings that proves her death was from an unnatural cause... the autopsy findings certainly find evidence of natural disease that could explain death."
March 2009
Martin MacNeill pleads guilty to identity theft in connection with using his adopted daughter’s personal information to create a new identity for Gypsy Willis as “Jillian MacNeill.” He is sentenced to four years in prison.
October 2010
Dr. Todd Grey amends Michele MacNeill’s cause of death to include the possibility that “drug toxicity” -- or the "adverse effect of drugs on the body" -- may have also played a role. When later testifying for the prosecution, he says that Michele MacNeill may have been drugged and drowned.
October or November 2011
It is during this time, according to testimony, that prosecutors hired a third medical examiner to review Michele MacNeill’s case. Dr. Joshua Perper is the only medical expert to say he believes, “within the reasonable degree of medical certainty,” that Michele MacNeill drowned.
July 6, 2012
Martin MacNeill is released from federal prison.
August 24, 2012
Martin MacNeill is arrested and charged with murder and obstruction of justice in the death of his wife.
October 15, 2013
Jury selection begins in the murder case against Martin MacNeill.
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