Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Mormon, the Gypsy and the Ex-Beauty Queen

(I’m back in the saddle again after doing a book signing in the US. I'm currently reporting from the Windy City of Chicago. More than breezy, it started off a tad too Arctic for my liking; luckily, the temperatures have released their grip on my bones and  sunlight is bouncing off the architecturally outstanding skyscrapers outside my 27th floor window.) 

I have been following a court case that has the American nation on the edge of its seat. This isn’t Big Brother or I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here! - this is REAL and the first time the Utah courts televise a case. This very twisted tale of daughters betrayed, a gypsy, a Mormon and an ex-beauty queen has all the makings of a Shebug story.

The shadowy trail of deceit began six years when an adulterous Mormon hooked up with Gypsy Willis who was trawling the Internet in search of` a big catch. Martin MacNeill was not only a lawyer, he was a physician. He was not decrepit, but young and good looking. The fact that he was a 'happily' married father of eight did not diminish him in her greedy eyes. 

His wife, Michele, was an ex-beauty queen. Alarms bells sounded in the family household when MacNeill insisted Michele undergo the scalpel in order to help their marriage. Post surgery, the paediatrician made sure his wife gulped down every last mix of Ambien (a sleep aid), Valium (a sedative), Percocet (a sedative painkiller) and Phenergan (an anti-nausea drug). 

The plastic surgeon who performed Michele's facelift said how MacNeill had supplied his wife with the additional heavy duty painkillers he himself had never thought necessary to prescribe to his patient, under the condition that  Dr MacNeill monitor their use.

Recuperating from her recent surgery, Michele confided in one of her daughters’ saying"If anything happens to me make sure it wasn't your dad”. Suspicion and fear hung in the air like a foul odour. 

Mrs MacNeill was found dead in the bathtub of her family's home in April of 2007. The first autopsy report stated that she died of natural causes, but after further investigation, the manner of death was changed to "undetermined." It struck the family odd that at Easter, their father would give them each $5000 for no reason and that the goo-goo eyed live-in nanny he hired immediately after his wife’s death could not cook nor did she look after the brood. The children were often left with a third party whilst their father and the nanny went off on holidays.

The bony-faced fifty-seven year old currently living in the Utah County Jail is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife. His fellow inmates claim he bragged about being able to get away with murder. Prosecutors claim MacNeill also obstructed justice in the case. They say following Michele's death, he removed his wife's pants, lied to a 911 dispatcher about performing CPR and drained the tub where Michele was found. His son’s girlfriend testified that he asked her to flush all of his wife’s medication down the toilet.

MacNeill's dishevelled blonde barrister claims her client was working on the morning of his wife's death and that his wife's dying was a result of her falling asleep in the bathtub and drowning.

Gypsy is playing her adulterous relationship with MacNeill down because she’s entered a plea bargain on felony charges for identity theft- even though the paediatrician paid for her housing, nursing school fees, and handed her credit card to indulge her shopping sprees.

It’s now up to the jury to decide whether the Mormon Sunday school teacher is telling the truth, despite the 15 texts he sent to his mistress the day he was unable save his wife; the 22 he sent her during Michele’s funeral, and the questionable cocktail of drugs he fed his wife. Perhaps his unusual jovial mood at the burial could have been due to nerves. People do react differently under stress: Gypsy's Teflon-tough Shebug hide kept her markedly cool under pressure when taking the stand. 

Did I mention that his office is a mere stone’s throw from his home and that prescription drugs take a while before they kick into the blood stream? Or that the lawyer/paediatrician was caught forging $35,000 in checks in 1977 and was put on felony probation for three years, and how a year later he served a six-month jail sentence for forgery, theft and fraud related to the check scheme? Perhaps I was also remiss is informing you that MacNeill was released from federal prison last year after serving three years on charges of identity fraud he allegedly committed with Gypsy after his wife's death?

Time to prepare a frothy cafe latte and before I settle in and immerse myself in the enfolding courtroom drama...

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