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Sentencing for MacNeill murder conviction set for Sept. 19

SHARE Sentencing for MacNeill murder conviction set for Sept. 19

PROVO — Ten months after being found guilty of killing his wife, Martin MacNeill finally has a sentencing date.

On Sept. 19, MacNeill will be sentenced for murdering his wife, Michelle, in 2007.

Last week a judge rejected a plea from MacNeill to give him a new trial.

Part of the reason for the delay was his suicide attempt in December, which led to questions about his competency, and then his motion for a new trial took months to resolve. On Aug. 29, a judge ruled he wouldn’t get a new trial.

During Tuesday’s hearing, MacNeill’s attorney told the judge his client won’t cooperate with the pre-sentence report or speak to the judge before he is sentenced, likely because he plans to take his case to the Utah Court of Appeals.

"In cases like this there is almost always an appeal, so I would expect there would be an appeal filed,” prosecutor Chad Grunander said. “There were a number of hard-fought contentious issues leading up to trial, during trial and certainly after trial as well.”

Utah requires a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life, so there won't be any big surprises at the sentencing hearing, but prosecutors say the hearing is critical in the process of justice for the victims.

“Alexis Somers, Rachel MacNeill, Linda Cluff have a right to be heard,” Grunander said. “And we look forward to giving them that opportunity. They have waited seven-plus years now to be heard on this issue in this setting of sentencing, so it will be a good day for the MacNeill family.”

MacNeill faces another one to 15 years for obstructing justice.

In addition to his murder case, MacNeill was found guilty in July of sexually abusing his daughter shortly after his wife died. He has yet to be sentenced in that case pending a separate appeal.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: spenrod@deseretnews.com