When EMS workers arrived at the Pleasant Grove, Utah, home of Michele and Dr. Martin MacNeill, they found a tragedy.
Michele MacNeill, a mother of eight children, was unresponsive in her bathtub, and Martin MacNeill, according to law enforcement at the scene, was hysterical and angry, cursing his wife for having had a recent face-lift.
Michele MacNeill was pronounced dead later on April 11, 2007. The autopsy report determined she died of natural causes due to cardiovascular disease. But three years later, at the urging of her children, there was a new analysis of a toxicology report that changed everything.
Combinations of medications found in Michele MacNeill's system were determined to have contributed to her death. Diazepam, Oxycodone, Promethazine and Zolpidem were all found in her system. Although none of the drugs alone was at toxic levels, Dr. Todd Grey, chief medical examiner of the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office, determined that, in combination, the drugs could have led to sedation and heart arrhythmia, resulting in cardiac death.
On October 6, 2010, Michele MacNeill's cause of death was changed to "combined effects of heart disease and drug toxicity." The manner of death was changed from natural to undetermined. As investigators began to reopen the case, they realized they had a suspect: Michele MacNeill's husband.
HLN's Nancy Grace says because of this initial decision and other factors, it's not going to be a clear win for the prosecution.
"It's gonna be really tough...One of the medical examiners said that she had...inflamation of the heart.. if one juror seizes on that, it's all over for the state."
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