Martin MacNeill not only moved his mistress, Gypsy Willis, into his Pleasant Grove, Utah, family home a little over a week after his wife’s mysterious April 2007 death – but he also proposed marriage to her within three months, Willis testified Tuesday.
In her second day on the stand in MacNeill’s first-degree murder trial, Willis, 37, whose affair began with him in November 2006 after they met online, calmly admitted to sending suggestive photos of herself to MacNeill, 57, the day after his wife’s funeral.
“That’s me lying down on a pillow and me on a mirror exposing my back,” Willis said coyly, occasionally smiling, when asked to describe two photos she’d sent. She also stated that, in early July 2007, MacNeill proposed in a restaurant in Wyoming and gave her a 4.5-carat engagement ring worth about $7,000.
Asked by a Utah County prosecutor whether they were serious about getting married, she replied, “I believe so.”
A Sinister Marriage Date
In August 2008, MacNeill applied for a military ID for Willis as part of their identity theft scheme to mask her bad credit for which both were convicted in 2009, authorities previously stated.
Although they never officially married, Willis testified, MacNeill listed a fictitious marriage date – April 14, 2007 – on the military ID application. Asked the significance of that date, Willis matter-of-factly stated it was the date of MacNeill’s wife’s funeral.
Before Willis took the stand Tuesday, prosecutors argued her testimony last week showed she was “hostile” and was siding with MacNeill.
“She’s out to protect him as much as she can,” Prosecutor Sam Pead told the judge, in asking the court permission to ask her leading questions, to which the court agreed.
“Based on their prior relationship, I agree [Willis’s] testimony is aligned with the defense,” Judge Derek Pullan stated.
Later, under direct questioning, Willis admitted to knowing about MacNeill’s wife’s planned facelift surgery – the procedure which prosecutors say allowed MacNeill a chance to overmedicate his wife with post-operation drugs before he allegedly drowned her – but denied knowing any other details about her death.
MacNeill’s defense attorney Susanne Gustin hinted to the jury that MacNeill never admitted to Willis about an alleged murder plot and reminded them that Willis made a plea deal to testify truthfully in exchange for avoiding more jail time.
In the coming days, a second mistress, Anna Osborne, is expected to testify about MacNeill’s alleged confessions of having murdered other people.
The trial is expected to last until mid-November. If convicted of murder, MacNeill could face life in prison.