Lawyer: Imprisoned Utah doctor may have killed himself

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2012, file photo, Martin MacNeill appears in Judge Samuel McVey's Fourth District Court, in Provo, Utah, for the first day of preliminary hearings. Officials say correctional officers found 60-year-old MacNeill unresponsive Sunday morning near the greenhouse of the Olympus Facility at the Utah State Prison. (Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah doctor imprisoned for drugging his beauty queen wife and leaving her to die in a bathtub may have killed himself, his lawyer said Monday.

Martin MacNeill, 60, was found unresponsive Sunday morning near the greenhouse of the Olympus Facility at the Utah State Prison. Corrections officers tried to revive MacNeill, but he was declared dead at the facility.

His lawyer Randall Spencer said Monday that when he visited MacNeill two weeks ago he seemed in good spirits. But he said he suspects suicide because his client has tried to kill himself twice over the past several years.

"He told me than and has told me multiple times in the past that prison 'is no life,' " Spencer said.

While MacNeill's death is being investigated, there are "no obvious signs of foul play," prison officials said in a statement.

Justin Hoyal, spokesman for the Unified Police, said they are investigating whether the death was a suicide and said they are awaiting autopsy results that could take 14 weeks.

"We're still looking at everything involved," he said. "But a (suicide) is one thing that we're looking at; if there were self-inflicted injuries as well."

MacNeill had been in prison since September 2014 after he was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Michele. He was also convicted of second-degree obstruction of justice and second-degree forcible sex abuse.

He was serving at least 17 years and up to life in prison, with his first parole hearing scheduled for 2052.

The 2013 murder case against MacNeill became a national true-crime cable TV obsession with its tales of plastic surgery and philandering, betrayal and family feuding, jailhouse snitches and a jetted bathtub brought into the courtroom.

In a separate case, MacNeill was found guilty of sexually abusing his adult daughter the month after his wife's death in 2007. That case came to trial in 2014, the year after his murder conviction.

Prosecutors said MacNeill overmedicated his wife after she had a face-lift and left her to die in a bathtub so he could begin a new life with his mistress. Defense attorneys argued she could have died of natural causes. No official cause of death was determined, and some lawyers raised questions about the verdict in the largely circumstantial case.

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