Where to begin the story of Martin MacNeill? When he was in the military at age seventeen and successfully faked schizophrenia to get a medical discharge with veterans benefits? According to the Utah County investigator Jeff Robinson, MacNeill’s life was like the movie Catch Me If You Can on steroids. MacNeill spent a lifetime acting his way through the world and changing his reality to suit the situation.
Perhaps I will start with when he met his wife, Michele. Michele’s mother immediately thought something was off with him. In fact, her bishop called her to tell her to beg her daughter not to date him, but he could not tell her why. Her sister did not like him and thought he was arrogant. But Michele was drawn to him and he threatened to kill himself if she didn’t marry him so they eloped. MacNeill would threaten suicide many times during his marriage. Soon after her mother found out she was married, Martin made the news for forging $35,000 worth of checks to buy clothes and diamonds and miscellaneous crap just to see if he could. He watched a 60 minutes episode about check forgery and decided he could do a better job. The forgery happened just before he met Michele so her mother went looking for his criminal record. It was then she found out about the schizophrenia. She told her other daughters that she feared Martin would kill her one day. Four months after they married, Martin went to prison for six months for the forgery conviction.
In 1987 Martin got his medical degree and in 1980 his law degree. There are conflicting reports about the legitimacy of these degrees. Particularly his medical degree that was completed primarily in Guadalajara, Mexico. Martin has never gotten anything in his life the straight and narrow way it seems. According to documents obtained by the Utah County Attorney’s Office, Martin falsified transcripts with inflated grades and lied on applications to get into two different medical schools and to BYU Law School. He was terminated from his physicans job in 1999 for undisclosed reasons from his job amid accusations or rape, misdiagnosis and unprofessional conduct.
In 2000, Michele found Martin looking at porn, he threatened to kill Michele and himself with a butcher knife. Cops were called and he spent a night in a mental hospital. A few years later said he didn’t love Michele anymore and didn’t want the adopted kids anymore. Michele was further sure they were heading for divorce when they moved into the house she died in about a year before her death.
She agreed to the facelift that he begged her to get in an effort to save her marriage. She was already sure that he was sleeping with Gypsy Jyllian Williams. After her death many women came forward claiming that too had affairs with Martin, and some even alleged rape. Michele’s daughter Alexis stayed by her mother’s bed taking care of her after surgery. She left her only once at her father’s insistence she get some sleep. When she woke up, her mother was out of it and listless. Martin admitted he may have over medicated her. She didn’t leave her bedside again until she was up and about back to her routine. Michele was dead within hours. Alexis was sure her father was responsible.
Prior to Michele’s death, Martin told neighbors and church members that he was dying of a rare form of foot cancer and that he had MS. This was in fact untrue. It seems that it was all and elaborate set up to explain why he could not pull Michele from the bathtub where he would later drug and drown her.
The blood drawn at the hospital indicated that the medications found in Michele’s body were taken within 1-2 hours of her death. Alexis believes he must have crushed them into her food. Martin asked his son Damien and his girlfriend to collect all of Michele’s pills and flush them right after she died because they would just be an upsetting reminder. Damian says the reason his dad asked him to flush the pills was to keep the face lift a secret from the neighbors and because his dad was afraid he might use them to overdose. Damian himself committed suicide by pills years later.
Martin spoke at Michele’s funeral giving a rambling speech that barely mentioned Michele at all. He also had his daughters call Michele’s brothers who were in from out-of-town and told them not to come. Her family had a another ceremony the next day.
Three days after the funeral, Martin took his daughter Rachel to a temple to pray for a nanny. As they left the Temple, Lo and Behold! There was Jyllian on the church steps. The two pretended not to know each other. The Lord had provided a nanny. Alexis pointed out that this God-given nanny was actually Martin’s mistress. This cause Martin to excommunicate Alexis from the family and demand that none of the siblings ever speak to her again.
After Michele’s death, the family would find out that Martin was having sexual encounters with several other women. One of them said that Martin confessed to killing his own brother and making it look like a suicide. She said he also told her when he was young he tried to kill his mother. The judge recently ruled that this testimony will not be allowed at trial. She also said he offered to kill her husband to free her from an abusive relationship. She suspected Martin was a serial killer.
Nearly all of Martin’s siblings died from suicide, or overdoses, or drank themselves to death. ALLEGEDLY. He has only one sibling remaining.
The summer after Michele died, Martin sent one of the adopted kids to the Ukraine on a one way ticket. Her name is Giselle she was sixteen at the time. Perhaps she was sent because she had a G name. Martin and Jyllian, stole her identity and Jyllian renamed herself Jyllian Giselle MacNeill. She claimed to be married to Martin on the day of Michele’s death. Now THAT is creepy. The pair eventually got busted. Martin served four years. ( He also served a three year sentence for another incident concurrently.) Jyllian was sentenced to 21 months and tried to flee to Mexico before serving her time.
Also in 2009 Martin was hit with more charges involving identity theft. The short version of this story is that the house was in Michele’s name so after she died, Martin acted as Michele’s attorney and pretending that she was still alive, drew up papers to put the house in his name. Then Jyllian placed an illegal million dollar lien on the house to block the children from trying to get the home. Alexis was at this time desperately trying to adopt the younger adopted siblings from the Ukraine. The cases against Martin and Jyllian regarding the house have not yet been tried. UPDATE: It looks like they have been to trial on this issue and Jyllian got 36 months of probation. This could have been part of a plea deal for her to testify against in Martin in the murder trial. She testified in the pretrial hearings. Her testimony was not particularly helpful to the prosecution’s case. She said they had been having an affair since 2005 and that Martin had moved her into one of his rental properties and given her a credit/debit card for her expenses. They also exchanged letters while doing their time hoping to move forward with their affair. I’ll update as I learn more about this particular case.
Looks like Gypsy did two weeks or so in jail for minor probation violations. She failed to update her address with her PO and she was driving a silver BMW owned by MacNeill without registering it to avoid the financial implications. Also, get this, the outfit she wore to her sentencing was Michele MacNeill’s. She showed up to court in Michele’s clothes with her daughters sitting in the front row!
After Michele’s death, Martin changed his will leaving all of his children only $1 and leaving the rest to Jyllian under a fictitious name.
Edited to update the mistress’s correct name. There seem to be several aliases for this woman. But the Deseret Sun who reported directly from the courtroom lists her legal name as Gypsy Jyllian Willis. I made corrections to reflect this.