"Suitcase Killer" Convicted Of Murder

Melanie McGuire sits in the courtroom as she waits for the judge to address the jurors' request for a list of exhibits, Wednesday, April 18, 2007, in New Brunswick, N.J. The jury trying to determine whether McGuire drugged, shot, and dismembered her husband, William McGuire, before tossing three suitcases containing his body parts into the Chesapeake Bay finished its first day of deliberations without a verdict. AP

A jury convicted a nurse Monday of killing her husband and placing his body parts in three suitcases she tossed into Chesapeake Bay.

Melanie McGuire, who wept as she heard the verdict, 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 charged that she wrote anonymous letters in an attempt to thwart investigators.

During the six-week trial, prosecutors said McGuire, 34, organized William McGuire's 2004 murder, using her expertise as a nurse so she could begin a new life with her lover, her boss at a fertility clinic.

The Middlesex County, New Jersey, jury was told that two days before her husband was last seen alive, McGuire bought a gun and bullets that matched those found in her husband's body.

The body parts of William 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 nurse was physically incapable of killing her 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound husband.

Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso told jurors 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, 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 behind physical evidence.

Prezioso told jurors that McGuire most likely had an accomplice, but no one has been named or charged. The prosecutor acknowledged that there were some unanswered questions, but said there was still "overwhelming" evidence to convict the mother of two.
  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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