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Crime News

How Martin MacNeill’s Daughter Alexis Somers Found Justice For Her Mother

Alexis Somers' brave fight is dramatized in Lifetime’s new movie “The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story." 

By Gina Tron
Alexis MacNeill

When Alexis Somers, formerly Alexis MacNeill, felt in her gut that her well-respected father killed her mother, she embarked on a quest for justice. 

Lifetime’s new movie “The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story” is based upon this true and horrific tale. 

The real Somers  — played in the movie by Anwen O’Driscoll from “Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story”  — grew up admiring her father Dr. Martin MacNeill, a beloved physician in their Utah community.

“Her whole life she looked up to her father,”  the movie’s executive producer Nancy Grace told Oxygen.com. She went so far as to go to medical school to walk in his footsteps. How awful that must have been to then suspect that your father who you love and look up to may have had a hand in the murder of your mother.”

As the movie depicts, MacNeill’s beauty queen wife Michele underwent a facelift in 2007 after she began suspecting that her husband was cheating on her. But rather than turn her marriage around, her husband took advantage of his status as a doctor to kill his wife during her recovery from the surgery. 

“He convinced the plastic surgeon to prescribe her all sorts of medication she did not need,” Grace told Oxygen.com. Somers, then a medical student, took care of her mom as she was recovering, but Michele died suspiciously the day after she returned to medical school.

While her father maintained that it was an accidental drowning in the bathtub, Somers’ gut told her something wasn’t right. Somers was one of eight children mourning their mother, four biological and four adopted, and eventually they began questioning her father’s actions.

At first, nobody would listen to them.

“I'd try to go to the authorities. I'd go to the governor's office," Somers told ABC News in 2011. "I went to every single newspaper in Utah, trying to get someone to listen. [...] I cannot understand why no one would listen. My mother was murdered […]and no one cares."

Grace said that despite the constant hurdles, Somers never gave up trying to get justice for her mother.

“Alexis had a gut feeling that her mother did not die the way that the medical examiner said and that’s a lot for a medical student to take on, to challenge a medical examiner,” she said. 

MacNeill was ultimately convicted of murder and obstruction of justice in 2013. The following year, he was sentenced to 15 years to life for murder as well as an additional 15 years on the obstruction charge, the Washington Post reported in 2017. In a separate trial that year, MacNeill was also found guilty of sexually abusing Somers.

“This case would never have been solved if it had not been for Alexis,” Grace told Oxygen.com. Other siblings, like Rachel MacNeill, also helped their mother get justice.

MacNeill died by suicide behind bars in 2017.

Dr Martin Macneill G

Tom Everett, who plays the murderous doctor in “The Good Father” called MacNeil “evil.”

He told Oxygen.com that footage of MacNeill in court was “hard to watch” because of his obvious lack of remorse.

Grace said that she feels like MacNeill would have even killed his daughter to protect himself if he could have.

“If he had realized that Alexis could somehow get to the truth I think he would have killed her,” she said.

While looking into her dad's actions, Alexis had learned that his deceit had gone on for his whole life. 

“He faked his way into medical school and law school and everything about him is a lie,” Grace said.

Somers, however, legitimately finished medical school and fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. She adopted three of her sisters and had three children of her own with her husband, according to the Cinemaholic.

She was in touch with Grace for the duration of this project. 

“The story is told intentionally through the eyes of Alexis because I will never forget covering the case and speaking to her,” Grace, who covered the story as it unfolded, said. “She made a profound impression on me and she impacted my life and I think she will to anyone who sees this Lifetime movie.”

For more info on the case, check out Oxygen's “Deadly Power."