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Doctor Wants New Trial, Confession Tossed In Bathtub Death Of His Wife

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Utah doctor convicted of murder in the bathtub death of his wife wants a new trial, saying cellmates lied when they testified that he confessed to the killing to them.

Authorities said Martin MacNeill gave his wife drugs prescribed after cosmetic surgery and left her to drown in the bathtub of their home so he could begin a new life with his mistress. Experts said she had painkillers, Valium and sleeping pills in her system and likely drowned in the tub, while MacNeill’s attorneys tried to prove she could have died of natural causes.

The trial became national news with the testimony from jailhouse snitches, doctors who said MacNeill pressured his wife into plastic surgery and convinced them to prescribe her the drugs, and a mistress MacNeill introduced as a nanny soon after his wife’s death.

The only evidence of homicide came from the two inmates, attorney Randy Spencer said, and he contends that evidence shows they lied in exchange for lighter sentences.

Jurors, however, have said publicly they considered the inmates untrustworthy and disregarded their testimony.

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