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Martin MacNeill sentenced earlier this month to prison for up to life over his wife's murder on Monday filed a notice that he plans to take his case to the Utah Court of Appeals.
On Sept. 19, a 4th District Court judge sentenced MacNeill, 58, to spend 15 years to life in prison for murdering his wife, Michele MacNeill, plus another one to 15 years in prison for obstruction of justice.
Judge Derek Pullan ordered the sentences in the murder case to run consecutively to a one-to-15 year prison sentence for an unrelated sexual abuse conviction.
MacNeill's attorney, Randall Spencer, filed a notice of appeal Monday in 4th District Court. The notice does not provide details about which issues MacNeill will raise on appeal.
Spencer said last November days after a jury found Martin MacNeill guilty of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstruction of justice that his client planned to appeal his case. Spencer, however, will not be the attorney arguing MacNeill's case at the appellate level.
At trial, prosecutors convinced a jury that MacNeill drugged 50-year-old Michele MacNeill, then drowned her in a bathtub at their Pleasant Grove home on April 11, 2007. The jury heard from a number of witnesses, including Martin MacNeill's mistress, Gypsy Willis, several of Martin MacNeill's daughters and two inmates who claimed he confessed the murder to them.
Prosecutors weaved a narrative that Martin MacNeill's bad or odd behavior including the growing seriousness of his affair with Willis, his insistence that his wife have a face-lift, asking that extra medications be prescribed to her and his reaction to his wife's death all added up to murder.
Martin MacNeill used an alibi defense at trial, arguing that he was at work at the time of his wife's death. Spencer also argued there was "reasonable doubt," pointing to inconclusive autopsy reports and the circumstantial nature of the evidence.
Before the sentencing earlier this month, Spencer had asked the judge to arrest judgment in the case or to grant a new trial. He argued that a federal inmate lied on the stand about a possible early release he received in exchange for his testimony and said that prosecutors did not disclose that a deal was in the works.
Pullan agreed that the inmate was not truthful during his testimony and said the county attorney's office investigator, who had agreed to write a letter of recommendation, should not have sat silent during trial, "allowing prosecutors to elicit false testimony" from the inmate about whether he was being offered any benefit for testifying.
However, Pullan ultimately ruled that even if the jury knew that the inmate had requested a letter and that the investigator had agreed to write one it likely would not have affected the outcome of the trial.
Martin MacNeill was sentenced to prison on Sept. 15 in an unrelated sexual abuse case, where his adult daughter testified at trial that she fell asleep at her parents' house on May 23, 2007 five weeks after Michele MacNeill's death and awoke to find her father rubbing her buttocks and licking and kissing one of her hands.
The one-to-15 year sentence was the maximum penalty for the second-degree felony, but 4th District Judge Samuel McVey said before handing down the sentence that he had little choice in the sentencing because Martin MacNeill did not cooperate with the state employees who conduct the post-conviction evaluation, and was not eligible for probation.
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