Two New Jersey criminologists have developed a true-crime podcast pouring over the case of Melanie McGuire, the former nurse who shot and dismembered her husband, William McGuire, in 2004.
Meghan Sacks, an associate professor of criminology and criminology program director at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), said about two years ago McGuire’s mom, Linda Cappararo, contacted her. Her daughter, who has maintained her innocence since her arrest, wanted to tell her story.
In 2007, McGuire was found guilty by a Middlesex County jury in New Brunswick following a seven-week trial of shooting and drugging her husband in the couple’s Woodbridge apartment the night of April 28, 2004, cutting up his body and dumping his remains in the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, inside three matching suitcases.
The jury deliberated for 14 hours before reaching a verdict. She was also found guilty of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and perjury.
McGuire, now 46, is serving a life sentence at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, Union Township.
Sacks and Amy Shlosberg, assistant professor of criminology at FDU, with McGuire’s full cooperation, examined the evidence, consulted independent experts and explored over 50 hours of exclusive prison interviews with McGuire, her family and friends and witnesses.
The criminologists said they reached out to everyone involved. They said the state side and witnesses were less forthcoming as well as McGuire’s former high profile attorneys Joe Tacopina and Stephen Turano and the jury members.
Sacks and Shlosberg said their goal was and is to remain objective with the podcast, called “Direct Appeal.” Sacks said when she first met McGuire, she made their goal clear.
“I told her ‘I don’t know you, I’m not here to advocate for you, I’m not here to prove you are not guilty,'” she recalled, adding the information put forth may not be flattering to her.
Sacks said McGuire, who is nearly out of options in the appeal courts, understood and still wanted to tell her story.
The first of 13 episodes launched on May 6 on iTunes, Google Play and other outlets for podcasts.
In a 13-episode podcast, McGuire shares her version of events and appeal. She appeals directly to the public for help, as the State of New Jersey’s case was based almost entirely on circumstantial evidence and no forensic evidence was found at the alleged crime scene.
Sacks and Shlosberg have not made an opinion of whether McGuire killed her husband or not.
“We tried to be as objective as possible,” Shlosberg said. “It’s only natural to form an opinion, but we have not made our final determination.”
In the end, Shlosberg said it’s all about justice for William McGuire.
“If the wrong person is sitting in jail, there’s no justice for the victim; if the right person is in prison, then questions can be put to rest,” she said, adding that just because a jury finds one guilty, does not presume guilt. “We are exploring the facts.”
Shlosberg and Sacks said through their podcast they would also like to highlight the criminal justice system.
Sacks said as the podcast airs, they will be collecting tips and possibly form more episodes. She said they reached out to everyone involved in the case. The state and jury members did not return their bid for interviews.
Tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.