- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A jury convicted a nurse of killing her husband and placing his body parts in three suitcases that she tossed into Chesapeake Bay.

Melanie McGuire, who sobbed as she heard the verdict yesterday, was convicted of murder, desecration of a corpse, perjury and a weapons offense.

She was acquitted on two counts of hindering prosecution and falsifying evidence. Authorities had said she wrote anonymous letters in an attempt to thwart investigators.

During the six-week trial, prosecutors said McGuire, 34, planned William T. McGuire’s death three years ago using her expertise as a nurse so she could begin a new life with her lover, who was her boss at a fertility clinic.

The Middlesex County jury was told that two days before Mr. McGuire was last seen alive, his wife bought a gun and bullets that matched those found in his body.

The body parts of Mr. McGuire, 39, a computer programmer, were found in matching Kenneth Cole luggage that washed ashore in Virginia in May 2004.

The verdict from the jury of nine women and three men came after about 13 hours of deliberations over four days.

McGuire’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, had argued that the petite woman was physically incapable of killing her 6-foot-3, 210-pound husband.

Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso told jurors that McGuire forged a prescription for a powerful sedative — chloral hydrate — using the name of a patient from her fertility clinic on April 28, 2004, the day her husband disappeared.

During his closing argument, Mr. Tacopina also said it also would be impossible to have carried out such a bloody crime in the couple’s apartment without neighbors hearing something or without leaving physical evidence.

Prosecutors highlighted Internet searches made from the couple’s apartment on topics such as “undetectable poisons” and “ways to kill people.”

McGuire said she last heard from her husband April 30. She filed for divorce on May 25 without reporting her husband missing. In the divorce papers, she accused him of slapping her and excessive gambling and drinking.

The suitcases were found May 5, 11 and 16 near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Norfolk.

Mr. Tacopina said the defense did not to call McGuire to the stand because they thought the jury had heard the key elements of what she had to say when audio recordings made by two men close to her, who were cooperating with authorities, were played in court.

The recordings were made by Dr. Bradley Miller, with whom she was having the affair, and her good friend, James Finn. During the recordings, McGuire repeatedly says she had nothing to do with her husband’s death.

The defense portrayed Mr. McGuire as a man with gambling debts who might have been killed by a creditor.

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