The true story of The Good Father: Michele MacNeill Murder

Lifetime’s latest true crime movie adaptation, The Good Father is about the April 11, 2007 murder of Michele MacNeill. 50-year-old Michele had gotten some plastic surgery, and had no idea that her doctor husband Martin MacNeill was plotting to use her medications to kill her. He almost got away with it as the coroner originally ruled her death as natural from heart disease. Later the toxicology report, which the family had to fight to get, revealed the truth: the medications in Michele’s bloodstream had stopped her heart. As time goes on, more horrible truths were uncovered about Martin MacNeill, who was anything but a “good father.”

Michele and Martin MacNeill

Michele and Martin MacNeill

Michele’s surgery and suspicions

Michele MacNeill reportedly wanted a facelift, but wanted to lose weight and get her blood pressure under control before she went under the knife. Instead, her husband pushed for her to have the surgery right away. She reportedly said she thought the surgery would help her marriage with Martin.

At a consultation Dr. MacNeill asked plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Thompson to prescribe a whole cabinet of medications to his wife for aftercare. Dr. Thompson complied with his requests: Lortab, Ambien, Diazepam (Valium,) Percocet (Oxycodone), Phenergan, and Keflex. Later the doctor revealed that he never prescribed Valium or Oxycodone for his patients because he felt they were too strong.

During her recovery, Michele begun to suspect something was wrong with the medication dosing her husband was giving her. She had the surgery on April 3, 2007. On April 4, she was released to go home. On April 5, she was found “unresponsive” in her room and was taken back to the hospital, where she recovered. After that, Michele’s daughter Alexis, who was in medical school, came home to give her constant care. On April 6, after a potential overdose, Michele told Alexis “if anything happens to me, make sure it was not your dad.” She also confronted Martin that day about his calls and texts to his mistress Gypsy Willis.

By April 10, 2007, Alexis left her mother’s bedside as she appeared to be recovering well, and Alexis had to return to medical school. The next morning, her mother was found dead in her bathtub by her six-year-old daughter Ava. Martin had intentionally made the young girl find her mother.

Gypsy Willis

Two weeks after her death, Martin moved his latest girlfriend, Gypsy Willis, in the house to care for his grieving children who had lost their mother. It was a large family. When Martin and Michele first got together, she gave birth to four children within five years. Later, they adopted four more children. Three of the children were from the Ukraine.

At the time of Michele MacNeill’s death, one of the girls, Giselle, had moved back to the Ukraine at age 16. She had no money and was living in horrible poverty. She tried multiple times to contact her father for help, but he ignored her pleas. Martin and Gypsy used this opportunity to steal her identity and use her social security number to open up bank accounts for Gypsy, who had disastrous credit.

Martin’s daughters immediately suspected him

Even though their mother’s death had been ruled “natural,” Martin’s daughters Alexis and Rachel suspected that he had murdered their mother. Their suspicions were heightened when Martin asked the girls to go to the LDS temple to pray about him hiring a new nanny.

When they were at temple, a woman named “Jillian” approached them, and offered her services as a nanny. Jillian was actually Martin’s mistress Gypsy Willis. They had known about Gypsy because Alexis checked her father’s phone after her mother’s death. She knew her mother had been checking his phone and fighting with Martin about other women.

Martin sexually assaulted one of his daughters

Six weeks after Michele’s death, Alexis was assaulted by her own father in the family home. She woke up to find him in her room groping her.

Later Alexis was able to gain custody of the remaining underage children in Martin’s care because of the sexual assault she had endured at his hands.

Martin McNeill was arrested 5 years later

On August 24, 2012, Martin MacNeill was arrested in the murder of his wife Michele, almost exactly 5 years after her death occurred. His trial started on October 17, 2013, and on September 19, 2014 he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years to life for first-degree murder and another 1-15 years for obstruction of justice.

How did Martin McNeill die?

Martin might have been eligible for parole September 19, 2031, but he killed himself on April 9, 2017 at the age of 60. Martin had access to the prison’s greenhouse, and knew of a spot where the cameras couldn’t see him.

He used a hose and a natural gas line that was meant for a heater for the greenhouse, and was later found by two inmates, who tried to revive him. He had been suicidal since he went to prison and fellow inmates believed that he killed himself because he had lost his last appeal.

A correctional officer came to personally notify Martin and Michele’s daughter Alexis Somers, who had cared for her mother right before her father delivered the fatal dose, about Martin’s death.

Michele and Martin’s early life

Michele, a former beauty queen, and Martin had built their picturesque family in Pleasant Grove, Utah after meeting at church in Mission Viejo, California.

Even at the beginning, however, there were red flags with Martin. He convinced Michele to marry him in secret because he was facing time in jail for check forgery.

Where is Gypsy Willis now?

In 2009, years before Martin would be tried and convicted for Michele’s death, both Martin and Gypsy were convicted of fraud for stealing his daughter Giselle’s identity. While they spent time in prison for this offense, they pretended to be married even though they had never gotten legally married. After they left prison, however, the relationship ended. Soon after, Martin was arrested for his wife’s murder.

“I found myself in prison as a result of being with this guy and that was terrifying to me,” Gypsy said when she took the stand at Martin’s murder trial.

In 2013 during Martin’s trial, Gypsy Willis did an interview with ABC News. She revealed that she had met Martin online, and he wooed her by asking what she knew about quantum physics. “There was just instant chemistry,” she said. “He was tall, he was handsome, he was very well spoken.”

Gypsy is now living a private life in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lifetime’s The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story is executive produced by Nancy Grace and stars Tom Everett Scott, Anwen O’Driscoll, and Charisma Carpenter.

Web Analytics