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Crime News

Who Is 'Suitcase Killer' Melanie McGuire, Whose Case Inspired A New Lifetime Movie?

Melanie McGuire was convicted of killing her husband Bill McGuire in 2004 and discarding his dismembered remains in three matching suitcases.

By Gina Tron
A police handout of Melanie McGuire

Convicted killer Melanie McGuire is one of the latest to get the Lifetime movie treatment.

Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story” premieres on June 18 and is based upon the murder of her husband, whose dismembered parts were discovered in suitcases along Virginia Beach in 2004.

The movie dramatizes their troubled marriage, depicting McGuire as a frustrated wife who grew tired of her husband’s serial cheating and gambling.

In reality, it was Melanie's affair — after a rocky five-year relationship that began after the two met at a restaurant where Melanie had worked part-time while attending nursing school — that led to his murder, at least according to prosecutors in her case.

Bill McGuire, 39, put a down payment down on a $500,000 house for the couple and their two young sons in April 2004. But just 48 hours later, 31-year-old Melanie requested a restraining order against him, alleging that he'd gotten violent during a fight the night before inside their New Jersey home. She claimed he walked out on her and the kids.

But in mid-May, three matching Kenneth Cole suitcases washed up in Virginia Beach — hundreds of miles away from the couple’s home — stuffed with Bill’s body parts. He had been shot to death with a .38-caliber weapon and then dismembered.

Soon, a doctor with whom Melanie both worked and had been having an affair revealed their relationship to investigators, who turned their eyes on her. She was arrested in 2005 and by 2007, she stood trial.

While the defense tried to paint Bill as a gambling addict with possible ties to the mob, the prosecution presented evidence that Melanie not only searched the web for fatal poisons, gun laws and murder instructions, she also bought a handgun and filled a forged prescription for chloral hydrate days before her husband's disappearance, NJ.com reported in 2017. 

They claimed her motive was to leave her husband for her doctor lover. 

The jury found Melanie guilty of murder, perjury, unlawful possession of a firearm and the desecration of human remains, according to Dateline. She was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, with an additional 15 years for the remaining charges.

While she has filed multiple appeals, all have been denied. Still, in 2020, Melanie maintained that she is innocent and that her husband's true killer is still out there, ABC News reported.

“After all these years, I still feel hurt. I still feel bothered. Like, how could somebody think that I did that?” she said in a prison interview.

Bill’s family has custody of the couple's children.

The case was featured on Oxygen’s “Snapped in 2007.

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