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Inmate testifies Utah doctor acknowledged killing

SALT LAKE CITY — Two men who spent time behind bars with a former Utah doctor testified Wednesday that he had acknowledged killing his wife.

One witness recalled defendant Martin MacNeill saying he was getting away with murder. Another said MacNeill told him that he had held his heavily drugged wife under water in a bathtub.

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With prosecutors nearing the end of their mostly circumstantial case, witness Jason Poirier recounted his conversation with MacNeill in December 2012 at Utah County jail — a few months after MacNeill’s arrest in the death of Michele MacNeill.

Poirier was being held on suspicion of shoplifting at the time.

Poirier said the conversation started when he asked MacNeill how he was able to get away with wearing custom-made shoes in jail. He said MacNeill replied, ‘‘ ‘I can get away with a lot of things. I’m getting away with the murder of my wife.’ ’’

Poirier took the witness stand under a limited grant of immunity from possible drug and theft charges.

Defense lawyers attacked his credibility by getting him to acknowledge he thought he would avoid charges or get out of jail by informing on MacNeill.

Another inmate, whose identity was withheld by the court, recounted his conversations with MacNeill in 2011, when the doctor was being held on fraud charges at a federal prison in Texas.

The man, who was doing time for possessing cocaine and a gun, recalled MacNeill saying he had given his wife oxycodone and sleeping pills, helped her into a bathtub, and held her head under water for a short time.

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