TODAY   |  October 19, 2013

Man on trial for allegedly killing wife to be with mistress

A man who was both a doctor and a lawyer is accused of killing his wife, a beauty queen and mother, to be with someone else. NBC’s Jennifer Bjorklund reports

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>>> a doctor is accused of murder. prosecutors say he killed his wife, a former beauty queen , so he could be with his mistress. a friday, a bathtub became the focus of that trial and it's just getting underway. we have more from inside the courtroom.

>> this is not the actual tub but it is the same model.

>> reporter: a bathtub in the center of the courtroom and what could prove to be a key element in the case of a utah doctor accused of murdering his wife. on friday, neighbors and first responders testified how they first saw michelle macneill slumped over in her bathtub the day she died.

>> i would say her head was pretty good and slumped. maybe a small portion of it above the rim .

>> reporter: prosecutors says her husband mart macneill , once a physician and lawyer, drowned and drugged his wife of nearly 30 years to be with his mistress. a woman who attended the funeral and neighbors say they saw around the macneill home around a week of her death.

>> pretty quick. maybe a week or two, yeah, we would see her coming and going.

>> reporter: the family from the outside picture perfect . eight children and four adopted by martin macneill 's daughters have sided against him.

>> who is in the bathtub?

>> my wife!

>> shall he is conscious?

>> she's not. she's not. i'm a physician!

>> reporter: michelle had undergun a facelift and on painkillers. medics and neighbors there the morning of her death have testified dr. macneill was ranting asking why did chef to have the surgery and why taken all of those pills? and behavior that concerned first responders.

>> was it going to go from me doing compressions to me having to restrain him or defend myself.

>> reporter: martin says he was not at home at the time of his wife's death and pleaded not guilty. his attorney say michelle macneill died of heart disease and insists that martins is not a killer.