Melanie McGuire

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Melanie Lyn McGuire
Melanie Lyn Slate[1]

(1972-10-08) October 8, 1972 (age 46)
Nationality United States
Occupation Former Nurse
Known for Parricide - Dismemberment
Height 5 ft 3 in (160 cm)
Weight 121 lb (55 kg)
Criminal status In prison
Spouse(s) William "Bill" McGuire (deceased)
Motive New life with her lover, Bradley Miller.
Criminal charge (June 2, 2005)
  • Murder-1st Degree
  • Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
  • Desecrating Human Remains
  • Perjury[2]
Penalty (July 19, 2007)
  • Life - Murder-1st Degree
  • Life - Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
  • 10 yrs. - Desecrating Human Remains
  • 5 yrs. - Perjury
Comments Also known as "the suitcase murder"
Victims 1 - William "Bill" McGuire
Date April 28, 2004
Weapons .38 caliber handgun, electric saw
Imprisoned at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women
Clinton, New Jersey

Melanie McGuire (born Melanie Lyn Slate on October 8, 1972) is a New Jersey woman known for being the perpetrator in the media-dubbed "suitcase murder." She was convicted of murdering her husband on April 23, 2007[3] and was sentenced to life in prison on July 19, 2007. McGuire 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.[4]

Early life and education

Melanie Lyn Slate grew up in Middletown, New Jersey.[citation needed] She enrolled at Rutgers University with a double major in Math and Psychology and graduated in 1994.[1] She graduated, second in her class, from the Charles E. Gregory School of Nursing (now called Raritan Bay Medical Center) in 1997 with a nursing diploma.[5] She married William McGuire in 1999.[1]


In April 2004, McGuire and her husband Bill had been married for five years. She was a nurse at a fertility clinic and he was a computer programmer. The two were raising two sons in a Woodbridge, New Jersey apartment. That month, however, the couple planned to move to a larger home in Warren County. They closed on their new house on April 28, 2004, but never moved in. That night, McGuire drugged her husband, shot him to death, and then dismembered his body. She later put his dismembered remains into three matching suitcases, which were later found in the Chesapeake Bay. The day after Bill's murder, McGuire started covering her tracks. She began establishing an alibi, claiming 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 April 30, 2004, Bill's 2002 Nissan Maxima was found outside the Flamingo Motel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Five days later, the first suitcase containing his remains was found near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. A murder investigation was launched.[6]


On May 11, 2004, a second suitcase with Bill McGuire's remains was found, containing his head and torso. A third suitcase was recovered on May 16. Virginia Beach police released a composite sketch of the victim, which an acquaintance of Bill McGuire's recognized as being him. Melanie McGuire became the prime suspect in the investigation. Because the murder did not occur in Virginia, however, authorities turned over their investigation to New Jersey State Police.[6] During the investigation, much incriminating evidence was uncovered against McGuire. The police discovered a video of her parking Bill's car at the Flamingo Hotel. 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 from a store in Easton, Pennsylvania with unusual wadcutter bullets. Bill was killed with a .38 caliber handgun with wadcutter bullets. In addition, police also learned that McGuire had been having a long-term affair with a co-worker at the fertility clinic named Bradley Miller. Her EZ Pass tag was recorded at a toll in Delaware two days after Bill's 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 EZ Pass 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 Bill's body were demonstrated by forensics to be from the same roll of bags that McGuire had in her home. The luggage that Bill's body was found in matched a set that she had in her basement, which was missing the same size bags as the ones Bill's body was found in. Police believed that McGuire used a prescription from her work to drug her husband.[7]

Charges and trial

On June 2, 2005, more than a year after the murder, McGuire was arrested at her new home in Brick, New Jersey and was charged with first-degree murder.[7] She was immediately booked into the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center, but made her $750,000 bail. Through her attorneys, Joe Tacopina,[8] 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, but 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 to get 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, New Jersey on March 5, 2007.[6] Prosecutors contended her motive for murder was to take up a new life with her lover, Bradley Miller. McGuire persisted in claiming she was innocent, however, and claimed her husband was a compulsive gambler who owed money, and believed her husband was killed by the Atlantic City mob.


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.[9] 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.[10]

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 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.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

On July 19, 2007, the 34-year-old mother of two was sentenced to life in prison.[17]


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".[18] 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, among other true crime television shows.

McGuire's conviction was affirmed by an appeals court on March 16, 2011.[19] She must serve more than 63 years before she is eligible for parole.[20] On September 20, 2011, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to hear her further appeal.[21][22] On April 29, 2014, McGuire filed a motion for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and newly discovered evidence.[23]

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.[24][25]


  1. ^ a b c Williams, Alex (21 August 2005). "Murder Stirs Surrogacy Network" – via
  2. ^ "State Grand Jury Number SGJ507-05-4" (pdf). Murderpedia. Superior Court of New Jersey. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  3. ^ Office of the Attorney General (April 23, 2007). "Melanie McGuire Found Guilty of Murder in 2004 Shooting Death and Dismemberment of Her Husband". New Brunswick: State of New Jersey. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  4. ^ Offender Details (19 July 2007). "Melanie McGuire, SBI Number: 000319833C". State of New Jersey. Dept. of Corrections. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  5. ^ Glatt, John (2 December 2008). "To Have and To Kill: Nurse Melanie McGuire, an Illicit Affair, and the Gruesome Murder of Her Husband". Macmillan – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c Reid, Beverly M. (2007-07-17). "McGuire timeline". The Star-Ledger Archives. New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  7. ^ a b "Wife arrested in gory dismemberment murder". The Edison/Metuchen Sentinel. 2005-06-07. Archived from the original on July 1, 2015. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  8. ^ "Home". Tacopina & Seigel.
  9. ^ "General Discussion - Melanie McGuire guilty as hell".
  10. ^ Craven, Laura (2007-04-23). "Jury: 4 guilty, 4 not guilty". Star-Ledger Updates. New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  11. ^ O'Neill, Jim. "McGuire's mystery witness is a fraud" Newark Star-Ledger (July 18, 2007) Archived August 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  17. ^ Din, Suleman E. (2007-07-19). "McGuire sentenced to life in prison for suitcase murder". Star-Ledger Updates. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  18. ^ "Author to sign copies of Melanie McGuire book". 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Epstein, Sue (March 16, 2011). "N.J. appeals court upholds life sentence for convicted suitcase killer Melanie McGuire". The Star-Ledger. New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Spoto, MaryAnn (September 28, 2011). "N.J. Supreme Court won't hear appeal of convicted 'suitcase killer' ,". The Star-Ledger. New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  23. ^ Russel, Suzanne (April 28, 2014). "Convicted killer Melanie McGuire seeking post-conviction relief in June hearing,". My Central Jersey. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  24. ^ Russell, Suzanne (26 September 2014). "'Suitcase killer' Melanie McGuire returns to court". Asbury Park Press.
  25. ^ Amaral, Brian (September 25, 2014). "Suitcase killer Melanie McGuire seeks new review of evidence". New Jersey On-Line LLC. NJ Advance Media for
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