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Cold Case: Brenda Banaski Missing Teen

Melanie McGuire New Jersey's Suitcase Killer

Melanie McGuire is a New Jersey woman who killed and dismembered her husband, William McGuire in 2004, put his body parts into suitcases and threw them off a bridge into the Chesapeake Bay. She attempted an appeal in 2017 on the grounds of ineffectual counsel but it was denied.

At the time of the murder, she was a a fertility clinic nurse living in Woodbridge.

Michael A. Priarone, an attorney who has represented McGuire for the last two years, said his legal team plans to file a petition for certification with the Supreme Court in the next few weeks on the post-conviction relief appeal. He said he believes the decisions will be reversed. It very well may be.

The evidence against her included Internet searches about fatal poisons, gun laws and murder seized from her home computers. It also included expert testimony linking the plastic garbage bags used in the disposal of her husband's body to ones found in their own home.

She also bought a gun and filled a forged prescription for chloral hydrate a few days before her husband disappeared, according to court testimony. She was having an affair with a co-worker and planned to leave her husband, state investigators said.

In a 2011 petition, McGuire requested to have the garbage bags retested and asked to conduct a search on the computers.

She has argued her trial attorney, Joseph Tacopina, failed to retain and call witnesses critical to her defense, such as one of her neighbors and a pharmacologist. Tacopina, a well-known New York attorney who has had many famous clients, has denied those allegations.

McGuire had also said her conviction should be reversed, in part, because at least one juror read Internet blog posts about the case during the trial. That, in itself, could lead to a reversal in her case.

Friends who knew the couple describe them as a perfect match, saying Melanie had a quick wit and beguiling sense of humor that matched her husband's. They had tons of money. Melanie made good money at the clinic and William worked three jobs. Despite so much working, he was also an avid gambler, going to Atlantic City and spending $10,000 or more each trip.

With money to burn, the couple purchased a big, beautiful home and began to move in. It was then that Melanie reported to friends that she and her husband had gotten into a terrible fight over the house, he'd beaten her and disappeared into the night.

Weeks later his body began to wash up inside plastic garbage bags in several different suitcases.

Some of their friends do not believe Melanie killed him, or if they do, they think it was because William was abusive. Something they claim to have witnessed themselves.

He was an avid gambler who was shot to death and dismembered. Sounds like a gangland killing to many. Although, the luggage he was found in belonged to her. Her story changed a few times and there were many small coincidences. No direct evidence, no eye witnesses, but police certainly amassed a great deal of circumstances that pointed to Melanie as the murderer.

She still has appeals.

If you're interested in more, you can watch the episode on Melanie on Martinis and Murder on Amazon Prime.

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