Martin MacNeill’s attorneys say his mental health is deteriorating in jail; competency hearing set

January 24, 2014

Martin MacNeill

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Attorneys for Martin MacNeill, the Utah doctor who was convicted of drugging and drowning his wife in November 2013, say MacNeill’s mental health is deteriorating so much while in prison, an evaluation is needed. You can read my prior posts about MacNeill’s murder trial HERE.

57-year-old MacNeill is due to go on trial February 4 on a separate charge of forcible sex abuse for allegedly groping one of his adult daughters in 2007.

His attorney Randy Spencer filed a motion on Wednesday, asking for a competency hearing, or a delay in the upcoming trial until MacNeill’s health is restored.

In the motion, Spencer wrote, in part:

“The manner in which he is being housed (at the Utah County Jail) is slowly killing him, and having a significant effect on his mental health to the point that I seriously question his competency to reasonably assist me in preparing for trial and meaningfully during a trial.”

“Mr. MacNeill continues to be housed in an isolation cell in a suicide robe and in circumstances that are worse than even the medical unit. He continues to have lights shined on him 24 hours a day and to not be able to get restful sleep or receive an appropriate vegetarian meal for physical nourishment. If he is moved outside of his isolation cell even to go to the shower room, he is now cuffed and chained — a procedure that was not used when he was in the medical unit.”

“It is my observation and belief that Mr. MacNeill’s condition is bad and worsening. He appears to have lost a substantial amount of weight. His face is drawn; his eyes are perpetually red. He is gaunt. He is isolated from personal interaction. He has been informed that as long as he is in the Utah County Jail, he will be on suicide watch with the same treatment as described above.

He does not seem to care about the pending trial or how it may affect him, which is a completely different mental state for him than my past experience over the last six and a half years of representation.”

A competency hearing has been granted, and set for Tuesday, in which both sides will present their arguments.

UPDATE: 1/31/14 11:44 AM

Score one point for Martin MacNeill. A judge ruled this week that he will undergo a competency assessment before going to trial on the sex abuse charge. He is due back in court on March 3, 2014.

UPDATE: 4/4/14 8:51 AM

Martin MacNeill’s attorney told the judge Thursday that no competency exam has yet been filed with the court, because MacNeill has refused to meet with doctors for his evaluation.

No word on why he is refusing or how this will affect his competency hearing on April 28.

Another telephone conference in the murder case has been set for April 29.

Read More:

Martin MacNeill’s mental competency deteriorating in jail, attorney argues
Competency assessment set for Utah doctor convicted of killing wife who faces other charges
Attorney: Martin MacNeill refuses to meet doctors for competency evaluation

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