Image: Melanie McGuire
Patti Sapone  /  AP
Melanie McGuire speaks with her defense team in court on Monday in New Brunswick, N.J., where she faces first-degree murder charges in the April 2004 killing of her husband.
updated 3/5/2007 7:51:27 PM ET 2007-03-06T00:51:27

A nurse charged with shooting her husband, hacking his body to pieces and stuffing his remains in suitcases meticulously planned the killing, a prosecutor said Monday.

Opening statements in the trial of Melanie McGuire began Monday, nearly three years after suitcases full of body parts washed up along Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.

“She planned for her husband to disappear, and disappear he did,” Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso said.

McGuire, 34, a mother of two, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 2004 killing of her husband, 39-year-old state computer analyst William T. McGuire. She maintains her innocence and has remained free on $2.1 million bail.

Prosecutors allege William McGuire was drugged with a sedative, shot in the head and chest, cut into pieces in the couple’s apartment and put into three suitcases that were thrown into the bay.

McGuire’s lawyer, Stephen Turano, said William McGuire had a gambling problem that constantly drew him to Atlantic City and could have led him to borrow money from the wrong people.

“Ms. McGuire did not murder her husband.... She did not dismember her husband. And she doesn’t know who did,” Turano told the jury.

Allegedly researched murder methods
Prezioso said McGuire planned her husband’s slaying by going on the Internet to search information on state gun laws, ways to commit murder and pesticides that can be used as poisons.

The prosecutor also highlighted the affair the defendant had been having with a doctor at the fertility clinic where she worked, and Melanie McGuire’s purchase of a gun in Easton, Pa., days before the slaying.

Turano said the prosecution’s case focused on his client from the very beginning despite evidence leading in other directions and a lack of motive and physical evidence.

Turano said McGuire cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation. He sought to portray his client as the victim in her marriage, a woman who was preparing to leave her husband, obtained a restraining order against him shortly after he disappeared and who was looking for an apartment of her own.

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