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MacNeill Trial Day 7: Mistress moves in 9 days after Michele's death - CourtJunkie

MacNeill Trial Day 7: Mistress moves in 9 days after Michele’s death

October 29, 2013

Gypsy Willis’ testimony in the Martin MacNeill trial continued today. Also called to the stand were Gypsy’s mom, some friends of Michele’s, and the youngest MacNeill daughter.

State’s Witness: Gypsy Willis, MacNeill’s Mistress


Gypsy continued her testimony today, which I have highlighted below. Before trial began today, the prosecutor asked the judge for permission to ask her leading questions as though she were a “hostile witness” and the judge agreed. The Prosecutor cited a few inconsistencies with Gypsy’s testimony on Friday versus the facts of the case. Below are highlights from her testimony.

  • Gypsy sent “suggestive” pictures of herself to MacNeill the day after Michele’s death.
  • After Gypsy was hired on as the nanny, MacNeill and Gypsy continued with their sexual relationship. Gypsy moved in only 9 days after Michele’s death.
  • Gypsy says she did help with the children but when the adult children were home, she resumed her studying.
  • In June or July 2007, MacNeill and Gypsy started looking at wedding rings. They placed bids on a couple wedding rings on Bids.com in June 2007.
  • MacNeill officially proposed to her in Wyoming in early July 2007. The ring was around 4 karats, worth about $7,000.
  • Gypsy and MacNeill were never officially married, but Gypsy took on the name Jillian MacNeill and acted as though they were.
  • Gypsy identifies in court an application for an ID card that MacNeill filled out for her. It was to get her a military ID. The name on the application was Jillian MacNeill, married to Martin MacNeill. The marriage date listed was April 14, 2007. This was the day of Michele’s funeral.
  • Gypsy claims she doesn’t know anything about Michele’s death.
Cross Examination
  • Gypsy got a deal from the Prosecution to testify today. That case had nothing to do with the death of Michele. She has to testify truthfully or the deal will have breached and she will spend 3 years in prison.
  • Gypsy used Yahoo Messenger to communicate with MacNeill (sends texts to cell phones).
  • The Defense goes over phone records from July 8, 2007 (over 100 texts), when she was living with MacNeill. She admits she was a “very big texter.”
  • From Jan – March 2007, Gypsy’s total texts were about 2 – 3,000 to her friends, as well as to MacNeill.

On Re-Direct, the Prosecutor clarifies that Gypsy was previously convicted for felonies that were fraudulent in nature.

Jury Questions

The Jury had five questions for Gypsy, which I paraphrased below.

  • “Was there a reason that it was decided that you would be introduced at the temple instead of just being introduced at the nanny intwerview?” Answer: Yes.
  • “Who gave you that reason?” Answer: Martin thought it would be a good idea to meet someplace nice, quieter, more soothing.
  • “Did you have any previous experience as a nanny?” Answer: No.
  • “What did Martin tell you that led you to believe that your relationship was becoming something more?” Answer: It was the fact that he was helping me through school. I was very busy and was seeing a little more of him.
  • “Did Martin ever discuss Michele’s health or surgery with you?” Answer: No. I overheard a conversation where she had high blood pressure that day and that it needed to be controlled before surgery, but that’s all I knew.
Prosecution Follow-up
  • Gypsy was aware that Michele’s surgery was taking place.
  • Going to prison wasnt a certainty, it was a potential consequence. She would have been sentenced based on a lot of factors and not just if she didn’t cooperate with the investigation.
Defense Follow-Up
  • Gypsy wasn’t trained as a nanny, but she would make sure the kids were getting ready for schoool, take them to school, go to her nursing classes, help with dinner, etc.

State’s Witness: Roma Henrie, Utah State Developmental Center


Roma Henrie is now retired, but was an administrator at the Utah State Developmental Center during April 2007. She was responsible for buildings that housed residents who lived there, janitorial services, records, etc. Below are some highlights from her testimony.

  • On April 11, 2007, Roma was working the Safety Fair all day.
  • Roma says that the award Martin was receiving was generally given around noon, and they moved the ceremony to 11 AM for MacNeill, who said he needed to pick up his daughter from school and check on his wife.
  • Roma took a photo from the event and MacNeill was in the photograph. MacNeill went up to her after and said “Make sure you got me in that picture.”
  • Roma saw MacNeill the Monday after Michele’s funeral. Everyone in their department was surprised to see him so soon. MacNeill said the elder children were at home watching the kids and he had nothing to do at home.
  • She saw him wearing a different wedding band a week after the funeral. She did not ask MacNeill about it, but someone else did. MacNeill said he had lost his wedding band and didn’t feel comfortable without one, so he went out and purchased a different one.
  • Roma went to MacNeill’s office and they had a conversation about Michele’s death. She wanted to express her condolences. He was sad and said Michele had insisted on having surgery that he didn’t think she needed. He told her that the doctors missed a heart condition that Michele had and she had a reaction to the medications. MacNeill said the worst part was that he had signed everything over to her before she died because he thought he wasn’t going to survive due to his toe cancer.
Cross Examination

At the funeral, Roma remembers Rachel MacNeill talking about how sick Michele was on Easter Sunday.


Roma admits that she doesn’t have a perfect memory of what Rachel said about Michele being sick on Easter. She just said she was sick in bed from the surgery.

No jury questions for this witness.

State’s Witness: Cheryl Radmall, Friend of Michele MacNeill


Cheryl used to be a neighbor of the MacNeills in their old neighborhood. Michele was president of a women’s group at the Church, and Cheryl was a councilor. Below are highlights from her testimony.

  • Cheryl went to lunch once a month with Michele. They were really close friends.
  • When she found out Michele died, she was shocked. She didn’t know about Michele’s surgery.
  • She last talked to her a few weeks before she died.
  • Michele was in great health, aside from slightly high blood pressure.
  • After Michele’s death, Alexis and Rachel were visibly upset and Martin showed no emotion.
  • At Michele’s funeral, MacNeill mostly talked about his childhood in New Jersey and the difficult life he had.
  • MacNeill said that Michele was the one good thing in his life, but he didn’t tell any stories about her. He mostly talked about himself.

There was no cross examination and no jury questions for this witness.

State’s Witness: Loreen Thompson, Friend of Michele MacNeill


Loreen Thompson served with Michele in the women’s organization in the Church in 1999. Their friendship continued, even after the MacNeills moved. Below are some highlights from her testimony.

  • Loreen was close to Michele up until she died.
  • Loreen says that MacNeill didn’t “seem real sad” the day of Michele’s funeral.
  • At Michele’s funeral, MacNeill said one thing about Michele: That “he stood there looking at his wife in a pine box.”

There was no cross examination and no jury questions for this witness.

State’s Witness: Lani Swallow, Friend of Michele MacNeill


Lani moved into the neighborhood with the MacNeills in 2000. Michele was president of the Church’s women’s group (Relief Society) and Lani was a councilor. Below are highlights from her testimony.

  • At Michele’s funeral, she talked to MacNeill. She said she never saw him crying and that he didn’t seem upset.
  • At the funeral, she offered to nanny for the MacNeill children. MacNeill said he had already hired a nurse that he worked with to be their nanny.
Cross Examination

Lani says that she is Facebook friends with Alexis MacNeill and is close to her.

Re Direct

Lani says that she has not talked to Alexis about her testimony, and hasn’t said anything that is not true.

No jury questions for this witness.

State’s Witness: Linda Cluff, Michele’s sister


Linda Cluff was Michele’s younger sister. Linda is the youngest of 7 siblings. Below are highlights from her testimony.

  • Linda acts as a representative for Michele’s family.
  • On the day of the funeral, before it started, Linda and her husband and daughter arrived early to see if they could help. MacNeill was unloading boxes of memorabilia from his car. He wasn’t using a cane, and he was running back and forth from his vehicle. He was “extremely rude” and refused any help.
  • At the funeral service, MacNeill was limping and holding a cane, right as peeople were walking in.
  • After the funeral, at the gravesite, MacNeill kept switchig off using the cane. Ada was upset so he picked up Ada. As people were starting to come, he set her down and picked up his cane.
  • At the funeral luncheon, Linda heard MacNeill joking around, saying he would have to get used to living the life of a bachelor.
Cross Examination
  • MacNeill wasn’t tryng to hide the fact that he wasn’t having problems walking.
  • The Defense brought up a website that Linda created, martinmacneill.info. She started it in 2010. She posts media articles and editorials about MacNeill.
  • Linda started the site to gather information and see if there were any other victims of MacNeill’s.
  • The investigation into Michele’s death was slowing down at the time and Linda wanted to raise awareness.

No jury questions for this witness.

State’s Witness: Vicki Willis, Gypsy’s Mother


Vicki Willis is Gypsy’s mother. She has lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming for the last 12 years. Below are highlights from her testimony.

  • Gypsy is the oldest of five children.
  • Vicki last saw Gypsy in August 2007 or 2008.
  • Vicki identified MacNeill in court as the fiance of Gypsy.
  • She first met MacNeill in late April or early May of 2007, when Gypsy and MacNeill came to visit them.
  • For Mother’s Day on May 7, 2007, MacNeill sent her a letter and a painting. The letter thanked Vicki for her hospitality for when he met them in Wyoming.
  • Vicki said she was “giddy” about Martin joining te family. She thought the letter and painting was very kind. He was a very impressive person.
  • Gypsy and MacNeill came to visit them in Wyoming between 5 – 7 times in 2007.
  • Vicki said they spoke with MacNeill about his deceased wife. She said she initially understood that Michele had passed away in January 2007. She doesn’t like to pry, but later they came to understand that Michele had passed away in April. That came from Gypsy later on.
  • It was clear that MacNeill was the dominant partner in the relationship. Vicki said she noticed that Gypsy seemed to be very “careful” about her behavior around him.
  • In July 2007, there was a big party in Cheyenne at a nice restaurant to congratulate Gypsy and MacNeill on their engagement. The engagement party was a big deal. MacNeill had rented out a banquet room. At the party, Gypsy and MacNeill were both very very happy. He gave a speech about his love for her. He made a very public show of getting on his knee and asking her to marry him.
  • Sometime after the engagement party, Vicki and MacNeill were driving into Cheyenne and he told her that he had never loved Michele. He said he loved her as a sister but didn’t love her like he loved Gypsy.

No cross examination and no jury questions for this witness.

State’s Witness: Ada MacNeill, The MacNeill’s Youngest Daughter

Ada is the youngest of the MacNeill children. She found her mother deceased in the bathtub on April 11, 2007. The State tried to bring her in as a witness, but the judge limited her testimony to a video interview that was conducted in September 2008. The video played in court. Below are highlights from that video.

  • Utah Co. Sheriff’s investigator Patty Johnston is conducting the interview with Ada.
  • The interview with Ada is from September 2008.
  • Johnston asks Ada if she used to live with someone other than Alexis. Ada says she doesn’t want to talk about it.
  • Ada is asked about things in the Utah house that made her sad. Ada says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
  • Ada does not want to talk about her father. “I just don’t.” she tells Johnston.
  • What happened to your mom?” Johnston asks. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Ada whispers.
  • Ada says MacNeill told her on her walk home from school that her mom was sick, and when they walked in the bathroom, the “water was brown and stuff.”
  • As the video of Ada’s interview is playing in Court, Martin puts his hand over his face.
  • Ada is describing finding her mother. Her dad told her to “get help quick.”
  • Ada doesn’t remember if she had ever walked home with her dad before.
  • Ada said she kept saying, “I’m home. I’m home” but her mom didn’t answer. Ada thinks she went to McDonalds that day after school.
  • Ada says her dad was trying to “pull my mom up, I guess” and needed her to go next door for help.
  • Ada says she saw Michele’s clothes. She can’t remember what she was wearing, but she remembers it was like a blue jacket.
  • “She was just laying down in the bathtub,” Ada says.
  • Ada said she thinks Michele’s shirt and pants were blue. “She was just trying to wet her hair.”
  • Johnston asks id Michele was all the way in the bathtub. “All the way,” Ada says.
  • Ada says she missed her mom but when asked if she misses her dad, she said, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
  • “How do you feel when you are around your dad?” Johnston asks. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Ada whispers.

No cross examination and no jury questions for Ada.

Vanessa, Alexis, and Sabrina MacNeill are all expected to testify tomorrow.

Background of the case:

Dr. Martin MacNeill is on trial for allegedly drugging and drowning his wife Michele, who was found dead in their bathtub. The first medical examiner ruled that her death was an accident due to heart problems. The second medical examiner changed the manner of death to “undetermined,” which led the way for the murder charges against MacNeill. Within weeks of Michele’s death, MacNeill moved his mistress, Gypsy Willis, into the family home. Gypsy took on the identity of Jillian MacNeill, although she and Martin never officially married. This is mostly a circumstantial case, with no direct evidence proving that Michele died as the result of a murder, or that MacNeill killed her.

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