Why is Melanie McGuire called the Suitcase killer? New Jersey murder case explored ahead of Lifetime film

A still from Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story (Image via Lifetime @YouTube)
A still from Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story (Image via Lifetime @YouTube)
Vishnu Warrier

The chilling real-life case of New Jersey nurse Melanie McGuire, who was convicted of killing her husband in 2004, is the subject of Lifetime's upcoming thriller drama Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story. The film stars noted actress Candice King in the titular role along with various others in significant supporting roles.

The case, which generated widespread media attention and public interest, was widely known as the ''Suitcase murder'' and Melanie earned the moniker ''Suitcase Killer'' for killing her husband and cutting his dead body up into pieces and packing them into different suitcases. Read further ahead to find out more details about Melanie McGuire, her arrest and subsequent trial ahead of the new Lifetime movie.

Lifetime's Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story: What did Melanie McGuire do?


Melanie McGuire murdered her husband of five years, William McGuire, on April 28, 2004. On May 5, 2004, a suitcase was found by a couple of fishermen near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with William's remains, after which authorities started a murder investigation (obtained via ABC News). Over the next 11 days, two more suitcases were discovered, one of which contained the head and torso. One of William's acquaintances later identified his sketch released by the authorities, which proved to be a major turning point in the investigation.

Police started looking into Melanie and found several incriminating pieces of evidence, including a footage that showed Melanie parking William's car at a hotel. In another crucial lead, the police found that Melanie had purchased a .38 calibre handgun from Pennsylvania. She was arrested a year later and charged with first-degree murder. She was subsequently released on bail after she paid $750,000. She was later arrested on several charges—including hindering apprehension for allegedly writing letters to the authorities asking them to get her off the trial—but was released on bail.

What happened at the trial?

During the trial, which began in 2007, prosecutors argued that she murdered her husband in order to build a new life with her lover Bradley Miller, a doctor at the clinic where she works. They contended that Melanie drugged her husband before shooting him to death and then butchered his body. Melanie continued to maintain her innocence at the trial. The defense team said Melanie was innocent and argued that William was a compulsive gambler with a volatile nature who often had mood swings.

Melanie, however, was ultimately found guilty of first-degree murder by the jury on April 23, 2004. Subsequently, she decided to go for a new trial on the basis of the theory that her husband could have been killed by gangsters from Atlantic City as he was in debt. The prosecution debunked the theory, after which she withdrew the re-trial request and received a life sentence with no parole available until May 20, 2073. Melanie continues to maintain her innocence to this day.

Don't miss Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story on Lifetime on June 18, 2022, at 8.00 PM ET.

Edited by Babylona Bora


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