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Claude Nolan
San Marco Properties
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Nov 092013
 

George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) — A Utah jury has found Dr. Martin MacNeil guilty of drugging and drowning his wife — all so he could allegedly pursue an affair with a woman he met online.

MacNeill, 57, has been found guilty of first degree murder and obstruction of justice for the April 11, 2007, death of his wife, Michele MacNeill, 50. The former beauty queen’s cause of death has been the main source of contention between the prosecution and defense.

MacNeill will be sentenced Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. His bail will remain at $1 million dollars until sentencing.

Prosecutors said MacNeill persuaded his wife to have plastic surgery so he could dope her up during her recovery and then drown her, clearing the way for his purported mistress, Gypsy Willis, to move in to the family’s home.

MacNeill’s defense lawyers said heart problems were a contributing factor in the mother of eight’s death and that the Utah doctor was not guilty.

His defense attorney, Susanne Gustin, acknowledged at the start of the trial that MacNeill “has made poor choices in his life. We’ve heard he had affairs during his marriage,” she said.

“We may think he is a total jerk, that is absolutely disgusting and that’s natural. But it’s very critical that during this trial you set aside your emotion,” Gustin admonished the jury when the trial began a month ago.

During the three week trial, family fireworks flew as four of MacNeill’s daughters testified. One of his oldest daughters, Alexis Somers, told the jury that she believes her father was guilty.

“Ever since the day my mom died, I was concerned that my father killed her,” Somers said. “I’ve been fighting to get justice for this case ever since then.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Nov 092013
 

(NEW YORK) – Dr. Martin MacNeill has been found guilty of murdering his wife in 2007. His wife, Michele, was found dead and drugged in the family’s bathtub. MacNeill’s own daughters testified against him after they suspected he had overmedicated their mother and were suspicious of his relationship with another woman.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 172013
 

Obtained by ABC News(SALT LAKE CITY) — A 43-year-old backcountry skier revived after she was buried in an avalanche is now in fair condition at University of Utah Hospital, hospital officials said.

On Saturday, Jan. 12, Elizabeth Malloy and a male friend were in Millcreek Canyon, Utah, a popular spot near Salt Lake City with no designated ski resorts but well-known for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

At approximately 5 p.m., police believe Malloy and her friend triggered an avalanche while backcountry skiing.

“When the avalanche happened, she was completely buried,” Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Utah Unified Police of Greater Salt Lake told ABC News.  “The male party that she was with had the necessary equipment.  He was able to locate her and get her out.”

Once the male dug out Malloy from the snow, he noticed she was unconscious, Hoyal said.

“She was not breathing,” Hoyal added.  “He was able to resuscitate her to where she was conscious and speaking.  There is no cell service in that canyon and, fortunately, they were in an area where he was able to move and get a signal and call for help.”

When the rescue team located the two via helicopter at approximately 8 p.m., they were 1.7 miles from the trailhead and approximately 9,000 feet in elevation on the slope.  At that point, both were air transported to the bottom of the canyon and taken to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.  Malloy’s condition initially was classified as serious, but has been upgraded to fair, hospital officials said.

According to the Utah Avalanche Center, the avalanche measured 800 feet vertically and 700 feet in width.

“Seven hundred feet wide is over two football fields, and I would think that [in] anything that is that wide and several feet deep you would feel like a toothpick in a hurricane,” said Craig Gordon of the Utah Avalanche Center.  “That is a large piece of snow.  The lady that was caught in that avalanche is lucky to be alive.”

In backcountry skiing areas that are not controlled, Hoyal said, there is a high risk of an avalanche.

“One of the big messages here is people don’t have necessary avalanche equipment and can’t get them out,” Hoyal said.  “It takes us time to get up to the backcountry and get to them.  In this particular incident, this gentleman was prepared, had the necessary equipment and, essentially, saved her life.”

When skiing in undesignated areas, people should be prepared and check with the Utah Avalanche Center before heading out, Hoyal said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 112013
 

ABC News(SALT LAKE CITY) — The frantic search for a missing 13-year-old girl in Utah came to a close overnight when police found the teenager at a local Walmart after she’d disappeared with no mobile phone, shoes or even a coat.  

But what looks like a case of a teen runaway is being called suspicious by police.

Brooklyn Gittins’ family said the young girl went to bed Tuesday night wearing her pajamas.  When they awoke, she was gone, and even her eyeglasses were left behind.  She contacted her family late Thursday night.

Lt. Justin Hoyal of Salt Lake Unified Police told ABC News that she is safe at home now.

“We believe that she did leave her house on Tuesday evening, and somebody picked her up and harbored her for the last two and a half days.  We’re going to investigate,” Hoyal said.  “She’s 13 years old, and for someone to hold her is wrong.  We’ll do everything to find the person and bring [that person] to justice.”

Gittins was unharmed and was still wearing her gray T-shirt and black pajama pants.  She had no shoes or coat.

“Brooklyn called her grandmother about 11:30 p.m. and told her that she was at the Walmart in South Jordan,” Salt Lake police said.  “Her grandmother then called Utah police department.  We responded to the Walmart and located Brooklyn.  The disappearance is suspicious and we are still investigating where she went and who she was with.”

Police say there were no signs of forced entry in her home outside Salt Lake City, and none of the straight-A student’s friends had heard from her after she vanished.

“There are elements of this case that are extremely concerning.  We are hopeful that, however, that this is simply a runaway,” police said on Thursday.

Gittins has gone missing before.  Her family says she ran away last summer, but soon returned

More than 500 volunteers, as well as dog teams, fanned out Thursday to search the area near Gittins’ home.  However, authorities sent the volunteers home overnight, saying the storm that brought all the heavy snow was too dangerous.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 042013
 

Thinkstock/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) — A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a former Utah Highway Patrol trooper and her superiors alleging that she filed false DUI charges during her career.

The department fired Lisa Steed in November for alleged misconduct related to her duties.

Attorney Michael Studebaker, who is one of the lawyers leading the class-action lawsuit, says he has been contacted by at least 40 people claiming Steed wrongfully arrested them on DUI or drug charges.

“Culture of corruption.  The stories are just rampant,” said Studebaker, who filed the lawsuit on Dec. 14 in District Court in Salt Lake County.

Lawyers have yet to determine exactly how much the plaintiffs will seek in monetary damages.

One of the alleged victims was Michael Choate, who says Steed pulled him over for speeding with his wife in the car.

“She said she clocked me at 73.  I was going about 50, 52 at most,” Choate said.

Choate was arrested and charged with DUI, but the charge was reduced to having an open container of alcohol in the car after a blood test showed he was not drunk.  Choate says he was forced to pay $3,000 in fines to get his car back.

Choate was also upset that his wife was forced to find her own way home after his arrest.

“They dropped her off at a Burger King,” he said.  “She didn’t have any money, she didn’t have her cellphone with her.  She had to borrow a quarter from a lady to make a phone call.”

Steed and her attorney have not responded to requests for comment.  Utah Highway Patrol says it cannot comment on pending litigation.

Steed is under investigation by the FBI.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio