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Melanie McGuire

Melanie McGuire

American murderer
Melanie McGuire
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American murderer
Is Murderer
From United States of America
Type Crime
Gender female
Birth 8 October 1972, Ridgewood, USA
Age 49 years
Star sign Libra
Rutgers University
The details (from wikipedia)


Melanie McGuire (born October 8, 1972) is a New Jersey woman who was convicted of murdering her husband on April 23, 2007, in what media dubbed the "suitcase murder". She was sentenced to life in prison on July 19, 2007 and is serving her sentence at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, New Jersey. Barring post-conviction relief, she will not be eligible for parole until she is 100 years old.

Early life and education

Melanie Lyn Slate grew up in Middletown Township, New Jersey, attending Middletown High School South. She enrolled at Rutgers University with a double major in math and psychology and graduated in 1994. She graduated, second in her class, from the Charles E. Gregory School of Nursing (now Raritan Bay Medical Center) in 1997 with a nursing diploma. She married US navy veteran William T. “Bill” McGuire (born September 21, 1964) in 1999.


By April 2004, the McGuires had been married for five years. She was a nurse at a fertility clinic and he was a computer programmer. The couple had two sons and lived in a Woodbridge Township, New Jersey apartment, but planned to move that month to a larger home in Warren County. They closed the documents on their new house on April 28 but never moved in. That night, McGuire drugged her husband, shot him to death, and subsequently dismembered his body. She put his remains into a 3-piece suitcase set, and those three pieces were later found dumped in Chesapeake Bay. The day after his murder, McGuire started covering her tracks. The apartment they had shared, for example, was vacated, but not before being meticulously cleaned and scrubbed, and the walls repainted. She also began establishing an alibi, claiming that after a domestic argument, her husband slapped her with an open hand in their bathroom, stuffed a dryer sheet in her mouth, and stormed off.


On May 5, the first suitcase containing legs were found washed up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a murder investigation was launched. On May 11, a second larger suitcase was found floating in the bay, containing a head and torso with two bullet wounds. The third and smallest suitcase, containing the arms, was recovered on a beach on May 16. Police released a composite sketch of the victim which an acquaintance of Bill McGuire's recognized. McGuire then became the prime suspect in the investigation. Because the murder did not occur in Virginia, however, authorities turned over their investigation to the New Jersey State Police. During the investigation, incriminating evidence was uncovered against McGuire. On April 30, 2004, for example, his 2002 Nissan Maxima was found outside the Flamingo Motel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the police discovered a security video of the incident. She claimed she had done this as a "prank" even though she had applied for a protection from abuse order days earlier based on the alleged slapping incident.

On April 26, 2004, McGuire purchased a .38 caliber handgun with unusual wadcutter bullets from a store in Easton, Pennsylvania. Bill McGuire was killed with a .38 caliber handgun with wadcutter bullets. In addition, police learned that Melanie McGuire had been having a long-term affair with a co-worker at the fertility clinic named Bradley Miller. Her E-ZPass tag was recorded at a toll in Delaware two days after the murder. She claimed that this was the result of her going furniture shopping in Delaware since it has no sales tax. Before she was charged with murder, McGuire called E-ZPass and attempted to have the $0.85 charge removed from her account history. Days later, an unidentified man, believed by many to be McGuire's step-father, also called and attempted to have the charge removed.

The plastic bags that contained the body were demonstrated by forensics to be from the same roll of bags that McGuire had in her home. The luggage that the body was found in matched a set that she had in her basement, which was missing the same size bags as those the body was found in. Further, fibers found in the body matched those from the type of sofa (now missing) that the couple had owned (indicating that a cushion had probably been used as a makeshift silencer). Similarly, a medical grade towel found with the body matched those in the house and others stocked at the clinic she worked in. Police believed that McGuire used a syringe and prescription from her work to obtain the drug used and means to incapacitate her husband.


On June 2, 2005, more than a year after the murder, McGuire was arrested at her new home in Brick Township, New Jersey and was charged with first-degree murder. She was immediately booked into the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center, but made her $750,000 bail ($0.98 million today). Through her attorneys, Joe Tacopina, Steve Turano, and Marc Ward, she pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After being released on bail, McGuire faced additional charges on October 11, 2005. A four-count indictment came down from a state grand jury. Her bail was raised to $2.1 million ($2.7 million today), but she was again released. More than a year later, on October 26, 2006, McGuire was charged with two counts of hindering apprehension for allegedly writing letters to police aimed at getting them off her trail. She again pleaded not guilty and was released after posting $10,000 bail.

Almost three years after the crime, McGuire's murder trial commenced at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick on March 5, 2007. Prosecutors contended her motive for murder was to take up a new life with her lover. McGuire persisted in claiming she was innocent, and claimed her husband had become increasingly moody and unpredictable and was a compulsive gambler.

On April 23, 2007, McGuire's murder trial jury found her guilty of first-degree murder, finding that the evidence established her culpability for the murder beyond a reasonable doubt. She was also convicted of the lesser charges of perjury, desecration of human remains, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. However, McGuire was acquitted of the two counts of hindering apprehension, as well as tampering with evidence and possession of Xanax without prescription.

Shortly after her conviction, but before sentencing, McGuire appealed for a new trial on the basis of the story of a jailhouse informant (Christopher Thieme) that her husband was deeply in debt and may have been killed by Atlantic City mobsters. However, prosecutors established that the informant was "entirely incredible and routinely and habitually fabricates stories", according to a New Jersey State Police investigation before recanting and accusing McGuire's attorney of suborning perjury. With the story debunked, the request for a new trial was withdrawn. On July 19, 2007, at the age of 34, McGuire was sentenced to life in prison.


During her arraignment on murder charges, McGuire's case was dubbed the "Suitcase Murder" by various media outlets. Author John Glatt wrote a book about the case, entitled "To Have and To Kill". The case has been profiled on television outlets: Snapped Oxygen Network; Dateline NBC; 48 Hours Mystery CBS; and The Investigators TruTV; Deadly Affairs Investigation Discovery, and Forensic Files II, among other true crime television shows.

McGuire's conviction was affirmed by an appeals court on March 16, 2011. She must serve more than 63 years before she is eligible for parole. On September 20, 2011, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to hear her further appeal. On April 29, 2014, McGuire filed a motion for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and newly discovered evidence.

On September 25, 2014, McGuire appeared in court with her new attorney Lois DeJulio, a public defender, to try to get a hearing that could overturn her 2007 murder conviction, on the grounds that her previous legal representation (by Joe Tacopina) was inadequate or ineffective. The request was subsequently denied.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 04 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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