- Associated Press - Thursday, July 3, 2014

PROVO, Utah (AP) - A jury on Thursday found that a Utah doctor who was convicted of killing his wife is also guilty of sexually abusing his adult daughter after the murder.

It took less than 2 1/2 hours for the eight jurors to convict Martin MacNeill after two days of testimony.

The trial brought MacNeill, 58, back to the spotlight eight months after a jury found him guilty of murder in the 2007 death of his wife, Michele MacNeill.

After Thursday’s verdict, defense attorney Randall Spencer told The Salt Lake Tribune that MacNeill was “very disappointed” but “not terribly surprised.”

MacNeill’s adult daughter, Alexis Somers, identified herself publicly Thursday as the woman he abused.

“As a victim of sexual abuse, I felt a duty to come forward and seek justice for these crimes,” Somers told reporters outside the Provo courtroom before the verdict. “Regardless of the outcome, I think I’ll be able to sleep a little bit better tonight knowing that I’ve done everything in my power to protect my family, protect my little sisters and others from my father, who is a murderer and a sexual predator.”

The Associated Press doesn’t normally use the names of alleged victims of sexual crimes but it is identifying Somers because she asked to be identified.

Somers said the incident occurred a month after the killing when MacNeill mistook her for his dead wife.

MacNeill maintained his innocence in the sex abuse case. Spencer said Somers was not being entirely truthful.

During cross-examination, Spencer brought up emails, texts and postcard correspondence Somers and her sisters had with their father after the alleged incident. He asked Somers why they inconsistently brought up the sex abuse charge and didn’t tell police after Somers was kicked out of her house.

Somers said she was trying to send sweet-sounding emails so her father would let her back in the home, where she could protect her sisters.

Somers said outside court that she declined to accept a plea deal because she thought it would send the wrong message.

“I wanted to fight,” she said, according to the Deseret News. “I wanted him to face his accuser.”

MacNeill faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on the sexual abuse conviction Aug. 25.

MacNeill is still waiting to be sentenced in the murder case. A state judge plans to rule in the next 60 days on a request for a new trial. Spencer has argued in court that the doctor’s murder conviction should be thrown out and the case should be dismissed entirely.

Prosecutors with the Utah County attorney’s office failed to disclose a deal made with MacNeill’s cellmates, who implicated the doctor during his trial, Spencer said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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