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Wife dismembered husband

A woman accused of dismembering her husband and dumping the body in suitcases off the Virginia coast tried to frame his sister by sending authorities a package containing his wedding ring and keys, prosecutors said. Melanie McGuire was indicted this week.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2005 20:05 IST

A woman accused of dismembering her husband and dumping the body in suitcases off the Virginia coast recently tried to frame his sister by sending authorities a package containing his wedding ring and keys, prosecutors said. "This is a sign of defendant disintegrating," Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso told a state judge in requesting bail be raised to $3 million (euro2.5 million) for Melanie McGuire.

McGuire, who had been free on bail since her arrest on a murder charge in June, was indicted this week on charges of murder, desecration of a corpse, perjury and a weapons violation.

Authorities believe she shot her 39-year-old husband in their New Jersey apartment sometime between late April and early May of 2004, according to the indictment. His dismembered body floated ashore in his own matching luggage over the following few weeks. McGuire, 32, didn't speak during the arraignment or bail hearing. Her lawyer, Henry Klingeman, entered pleas of not guilty. If convicted of murder, she could face 30 years to life in prison. Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa raised her bail to $2 million (euro1.67 million).

William McGuire disappeared shortly after the couple bought a new $500,000 (euro416,389) home. Authorities determined the computer worker and father of two was shot at least twice, in the chest and the head.

In court, Prezioso outlined what she called an "inescapable circumstantial case" against Melanie McGuire.

The woman had been having an extramarital affair and bought a gun in Pennsylvania just before her husband disappeared, Prezioso said. A grainy videotape also shows her leaving her husband's car in Atlantic City on April 30, the prosecutor said.

Prezioso also said she received a package this week with the victim's ring and keys. With it was a letter saying the items were found in trash at the workplace of William McGuire's sister along with "notes on how to set up Melanie," Prezioso said. The return address of the workplace was wrong, and investigators determined the package wasn't sent by anyone there, she said.

"These attempts show she is a desperate woman," Prezioso said. A grand jury is still reviewing the possibility that Melanie McGuire had an accomplice, state Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy said after the hearing.

McGuire, once a nurse at a fertility clinic in Morristown, moved to Ocean County after her husband's death, authorities said. The perjury charge stems from her testimony in Family Court on the same day the videotape shows her abandoning her husband's car. She testified then that her husband was a threat to her safety and requested a restraining order, but by that time William McGuire was either incapacitated or dead, Prezioso said.

First Published: Oct 13, 2005 20:05 IST