Saturday, November 9, 2013
MacNeill Found Guilty
To the surprise of few people who have spent substantial time in Utah County, Martin MacNeill was convicted of murdering his late wife. He was also found guilty of obstruction of justice. I haven't read anything truly edifying about the obstruction charges, so I'm not certain what that's all about. I would like to text my pseudoaunt, the attorney, to ask her about the obstruction charges, but her husband works a 24-hour shift stating early in the morning, so I don't want to text her in case her cell phone is in their bedroom, because the beep might wake him.
My pseudoaunt is the one who told me MacNeill would be found guilty. Her thoughts pertaining to the matter are that MacNeill is totally guilty but she personally didn't think the evidence to convict was there. After spending several years at BYU, she believes that the nature of Mormonism is such that it lends itself to leading its adherents to form conclusions based on what they feel as opposed to based on facts and logic. (If you're LDS, please don't take offense. These are her beliefs and not necessarily mine.
The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints is far from the only faith-based church on the planet.) She feels that the sum of the teachings of most religions, including her own Roman Catholic Church, wouldn't exactly hold up to scientific inquiry, but that the retold story of the origins of the LDS church as still maintained by by its present leaders stretches the limits of credulity beyond what a critical thinker could persuade himself or herself to believe. (Again, those are her beliefs. I don't necessarily share her sentiments 100 %.) Anyway, she feels that believing in a religion that grossly defies logic (her words, not mine) because of feelings lends itself to reaching other conclusions based more on feelings than on factual information. Hence, by her way of thinking, a practicing Mormon might be able to ignore a judge's directive to render a verdict based solely on evidence, and might be able, more easily than the average person, to make a decision based on gut feelings.
My pseudoaunt lived in Utah County within ten miles of Martin MacNeill. Her mother- and father-in-law lived much closer, as did her brother- and sister-in-law. Her brother-in-law and his wife lived very close. The brother-in-law may or may not have been privy to direct knowledge pertaining to the case. I'm not permitted to discuss that here, and the brother-in-law, whom I know personally and well, has never talked either to my pseudoaunt or to me about the situation. The connection just makes the situation a little closer to home than it would otherwise be.
I'm not sure exactly how I feel about having a guilty person convicted for the wrong reason. To me it's a little like O. J. and the conviction for robbery or whatever charges he was convicted of in the theft by force of the sports memorabilia. Many people felt that he wasn't necessarily all that guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted in Las Vegas, but that the conviction got an obviously guilty-of-murder person off the streets even if it was for a different crime. I don't know. For one thing, I'm not thoroughly convinced he was not guilty as chargbed and convicted of the Vegas crimes. Regardless, though, I suppose I feel just a bit safer with him locked up.
The MacNeill case feels similar to me even though it's not a perfect analogy. I have no doubt that Martin MacNeill is guilty. Even discounting the testimony of the jailhouse informants, entirely too many coincidences exist. Macneill is, depending upon how one views it, either one of the luckiest or unluckiest men in the world, second only to Scott Peterson.
On the other hand, I'm not certain that, had I been on the jury, I could have looked at the evidence as presented and voted to convict based solely on the evidence. MacNeill had a really good attorney, who drilled home very effectively that there was no consensus concerning Michele MacNeill's cause of death, and without a cause of death, there was no murder. Legally speaking, I suspect he was correct. Still, on the nights I slept in that neighborhood, I lost a considerable amount of sleep because of the feeling I had that a murderer was entirely too close to me for comfort. I'll sleep a great deal more soundly if I ever spend another night there.
My recital will being in exactly one week, fifteen hours, and one minute,not that I'm counting.