Melanie McGuire is serving a life sentence in the murder of her husband, Bill McGuire, at a women’s correctional facility in New Jersey. She will not be eligible for parole until she has served 66 years in prison.
McGuire, now 47, was convicted of killing and dismembering her husband after a lengthy trial in 2007. Bill McGuire, 39, disappeared April 28, 2004, shortly after announcing to his friends that he and his wife had just closed the sale of their first home, according to an appeal filed in her case. His body was found in three separate suitcases in the Chesapeake Bay, which led to McGuire’s nickname, the “Suitcase Killer.”
McGuire maintains her innocence, and wants her two adult sons to look into the case for themselves. ABC dug into the case and interviewed McGuire in prison for their two-hour 20/20 special, “Suitcase Killer,” which airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time Friday, September 25, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
McGuire Is Incarcerated at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, New Jersey
McGuire is lodged at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, serving a life sentence in Clinton, New Jersey. She may be eligible for parole after serving 66 years in prison, court documents filed in her case said. As McGuire maintains her innocence, she is running out of appeal options. In addition to 20/20, her case is being examined in a podcast, “Direct Appeal.” She filed an appeal to the New Jersey Superior Court, which affirmed her conviction and sentence in 2011.
McGuire was sentenced to 63 years, eight months and 30 days to life for first-degree murder, five to 10 years for desecration of human remains, two years and six months to five years for third-degree perjury, and a maximum sentence of life for second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, according to her prison record.
Here is her prison record:
McGuire told 20/20 she did not commit the crimes for which she was convicted.
“After all these years, I still feel hurt. I still feel bothered. Like, how could somebody think that I did that?” she said on 20/20.
She told her sons, now adults, to look into the case for themselves.
“Make up your mind. Don’t accept what you’re just being told on the surface. Dig, dig. These documents exist. This stuff exists,” she said on the show. “It’s out there.”
The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women Was the Subject of a Federal Probe After Allegations of Sexual Abuse Surfaced; 2 Inmates at the Prison Died of COVID-19
The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton, New Jersey, made headlines for allegations of sexual abuse and for the recent spread of the coronavirus, New Jersey Spotlight News reported. The news outlet reported in June, 2020, COVID-19 was spreading because of a low supply of protective masks, poorly enforced social distancing measures, and inadequate quarantining of infected inmates. As of June 22, 2020, two inmates had died of COVID-19.
Data from the New Jersey Department of Corrections details cases since they implemented additional measures. It shows no inmates or staff at the facility had confirmed positive test results between August 22, 2020, and September 25, 2020.
“The Department’s virus mitigation tactics, along with its universal testing initiative of staff and inmates, has controlled the spread of COVID-19 within NJDOC facilities. The chart below captures the current COVID cases within the inmate and staff population, following Phase 2 testing, which includes retesting those individuals who were previously negative. This chart demonstrates the significant drop in active cases from approximately 800 active inmate cases in DOC facilities at the peak of the pandemic,” the DOC website says.
Following the 2018 investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the prison, the DOC released a statement in April, 2020, saying reforms were introduced at the prison to make it easier for inmates to report sexual abuse. It also promised to better educate staff and inmates about the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, and said it had set up an early-warning system to identify “problematic” behavior by staff.