Skip to main content

Melanie McGuire New Jersey's Suitcase Killer

I started writing to Judith Neelley in 2005 after I learned of her story by chance. It was while I was researching the case of Christa Pike who, at age eighteen was the youngest woman on death row.

I stumbled across the book “Early Graves” by Thomas Cook. It is the story of Judy and Alvin Neelley and the crimes they committed. The cover blurb shouted out “Shocking True Crime- The Youngest Woman Ever on Death Row” – and I was hooked. I ordered a used copy from Amazon and devoured it in twenty-four hours.

I learned Judy was born thirty minutes from me and had attended the same elementary school as the children of several of my friends. The book covered the couple’s life of crime with the emphasis being on Judy. I also read about how reed thin Judy brutalized and abused her 280-pound, and by all accounts, charmer of a husband. Apparently Judy, was able to coerce Alvin into committing rape and murder both with her and without her. I pondered this for a while.

While I read the book I pictured the scenarios that may have taken place. Nothing was ringing true to me. Something was still unresolved for me. It was partly because I couldn’t quite believe that something so evil could have been bred in my own little corner of the world. But it was also because of a memory that kept recurring.

Over and over I would get flashes of my mom filing her fingernails to sharp points before donning my brother’s bicycle and riding ten miles to the home of my dad’s mistress.

I thought maybe Judy wasn’t such a monster. Maybe something similar happened to her as I watched happen to my mother that day.

Like most abused women my mother was a quiet, modest grandmother whose whole life was her job at the local Whirlpool factory. My aunt tells stories of her as a vivacious, beauty queen, riding in parades and attending parties. I never got to know that woman. She wasn’t my mother.

My mother was a damaged, fragile shell.
My father beat the crap out of her with sickening regularity. The Christmas Eve when I was twelve I peeked down the hallway to see him pull a handful of hair out of her head that was as big as a kitten. It was the first time I’d actually seen any violence between them. Usually I was awakened in the night by screams and arguing. I would cower under the covers and try to make sense of what I was hearing. It was always muffled, scary, and indecipherable. Morning would find mom quietly nursing her coffee and balancing her Marlboro with its inch long ash on her purple, fat lip.

My brother and I would look at each other over our cereal bowls and wonder just what the hell had happened during the night.Our damaged family dynamics changed shape the night my mom rode those ten miles to town.

My dad had this bony, black haired mistress who would call our house all night long. She would drive around our house late at night and shine her headlights in the windows. Our two-year-old baby brother would howl and my parents would fight. Dad would get mad and storm out. He would go from one woman to the other leaving a trail of madness behind him.

One spring morning full of this particular madness my mother came unglued. She sat on the couch all day filing her nails to sharp daggers and painting them with a thick acrylic paint. She stewed in that black funk all day and when evening came she jumped on my brother’s bike and rode 12 miles to town.

She told me later that her intentions were to end that chapter of her life. Her goal when she left the house was to end the madness and the ass whippings it brought with it by any means necessary. When she got there she called daddy and the woman out and pounced on her. My mom lost her mind that day. She had been beat down so many times that she snapped. She made dangerous choices based on irrational, anxious thoughts and violent circumstances.

By anyone’s accounts my mom was a genuinely sweet woman who would hurt no one, unless my dad was in the mix. Because that was such a fact of life in my world I began to apply that line of thought to Judy. I could easily see my mother losing it and doing something similar to what Judy did. Especially if she thought it would save her an ass whipping or at least post-pone the last deadly one.

Perhaps madness had overtaken her as well. I wondered if it was possible that Judy was also just a damaged, shell with so many cracks it just became easier to fall apart than hold it together.

Survival of the fittest. Kill or be killed.
I wanted to know her.
I needed to know her.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this story-

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your welcome. Thanks for reading it ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I knew Judy's twins in ...was probably 1997, when I lived in Decatur TN. We met at the town library, where the daughter gave me my first lessons of using a computer (we played on MS Paint). I can't remember their names. There was a family-friendly motorcycle rally nearby and I got permission from their foster mother to take them. Later she changed her mind, because there would be (bring-your-own) alcohol there. I often think of those kids and wonder how they're doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meowmom. I went to high school with the twins. We graduated in 1999. They both are doing good and have started their own lives. I never knew anything about their real parents until this year. From meeting and knowing the twins you would have never known what a horrible past they had already lived. They both are great people.

      Delete
  4. What happened to your mother?

    ReplyDelete
  5. No it wasn't the same thing that drove your Mom which drove JN
    Your Mom contained her emotions, until the point came when she could not. JD had no emotion, whereas your Mom was emotionally motivated.
    JN felt pleasure, not emotion. Pleasure is physical, a sensory response. Emotions are not sensory. JD was controlled in chaos because she always was, because she acts without emotions. I'm not a psychologist, these factors are apparent from a distance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But.... you didnt know my mom. I dont remember seeing you there when either case happened, much less in my childhood traumas. How arrogant to think you have any idea of what was going on in either womans head. How can you claim to know so much about my mom and my childhood from this post?

      Delete

Post a Comment

What Are Your Thoughts? Remember, you don't have to read this blog if it makes you mad. Name-calling and temper tantrums have no place here.

Popular posts from this blog

Brenda Andrew Execution date

Brenda Andrew is the only woman on Oklahoma death row. She is there for the murder of her husband by her and her boyfriend James Pavatt.

     Brenda does not answer letters. It seems she may still have a bit of that pretentious attitude left over from her days as a respected deacons wife. Those days are over, hun.

     There is no scheduled execution date for Brenda yet. Oklahoma lists its dates of execution for the prison she is in here.

     Every time I read about this case I am utterly amazed at how stupid these two people were. She may as well have advertised their guilt on a billboard in front of the house. Both Andrew's and Pavatt's appeal were systematically denied without comment in 2008.

The little Scorned episode "The Sunday School Killers" at the top of this post is about Brenda and James and its only $1.99 so its worth the money.

AppearanceWhite Female; 5 ft. 3 in. tall; 110 pounds; Brown hair; Brown eyes; Body MarksABD: SCAR C LOW 4" c sectio…

Kelly "Turtle" Tibbs and her Chick Posse

Anybody ever hear about Kelly Tibbs? I read about her case years ago and was recently contacted by a friend of hers. I got to thinking about her again. I cant really believe she didnt get the death penalty.

She was a lesbian ring leader in her little town. She and her teenage friends were a little crew of lesbians that hung together and lived together. None had a steady home, all were from broken families somehow torn by substance problems or abuse or just plain neglect.

Kelly was the leader. Her nickname "Turtle" was the name she went by exclusively and all her followers tatooed a tiny turtle on their hands. This group was so odd. They were PeterPans lost boys and Turtle was peter pan. They traveled in packs and found food and lodging when they could. Everything was a game and they frolicked around everywhere they went.

Eventually a new girl came into the mix and began a half-assed relationship with one of the other girls. Emotions flew and she got murdered. Beat to death. …

Texas May Have an Innocent Woman on Death Row

Kimberly Cargill is on death row for the killing of her mentally retarded babysitter, Cherry Walker. Ms. Walker was found burned on the side of a rural road in Texas. Doctors had diagnosed her as mentally challenged in 1995, saying she had the living skills of a 9 year old.

Witnesses, some her own family, testified that Cargill was abusive and violent toward them and to Cherry Walker. Cargill was arrested in 2010 on child abuse charges and a custody trial was pending in which Cherry Walker was slated to testify. The state alleged that Kimberly killed Cherry to keep her from testifying.

Kimberly has always said that she did not kill Cherry but that she suffered from a seizure as she was riding in the car with Kimberly. She had been prone to seizures and Kimberly panicked. She tried to revive her, but could not. When she realized Cherry was dead, she set her on fire in an attempt to rid any DNA from her body. She was certain she would be charged with her death.

She was convicted. She wa…