Hot off the press...
I've thus far been 100% right on the decisions, but 100% wrong in
thinking they'd come more quickly than they have. Next stop for Melaine
- application to US SCT. I guess I'll revise all the dates in the
timeline in my previous post by adding 6 months to them?
N.J. Supreme Court won't hear appeal of convicted 'suitcase killer'
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 6:53 PM
TRENTON — The New Jersey Supreme Court said today it had declined to hear the appeal of Melanie McGuire, essentially ending the appeals process for the fertility nurse convicted of killing her husband, stuffing his dismembered body in suitcases and dumping them in the Chesapeake Bay.
Her rejection by the state’s highest court dashed McGuire’s hopes of reversing her conviction and life sentence for the brutal slaying in 2004 that she insists she did not commit.
In their usual style, the Supreme Court justices did not give a reason for turning down McGuire. In a three-paragraph order signed Sept. 20 by Justice Virginia Long and released today, the court simply said her request was denied and her appeal dismissed.
The court generally hears cases it considers to raise significant public questions or have received split decisions in the appellate division.
"I know she’s going to be extremely, extremely disappointed with the decision," said her former attorney, Stephen Turano.
McGuire, 38, a computer programmer, was found guilty of fatally shooting her husband, William McGuire, 39, on April 28, 2004, after drugging him. To cover up the killing, she hacked his body in four places with a reciprocating saw and a knife and packed them in three suitcases, which she dumped off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
In her appeal, McGuire said her April 23, 2007, murder conviction
should be reversed, in part, because at least one juror read internet
blog posts about the case during the trial.
The trial judge, Superior Court Judge Frederick DeVesa, denied her request for a new trial based on evidence that the markings on bullets fired from a .38-caliber handgun she bought three days before the killing did not match the markings on bullets taken from her husband’s body.
Prosecutors argued they never insisted McGuire was shot with that gun because investigators never found the murder weapon.
Former Assistant State Attorney General Patricia Prezioso, who prosecuted the case, said today she was pleased with the outcome.
"I’m relieved that hopefully there’s some closure to this process now and I’m confident that justice was done," said Prezioso, who is now in private practice.
Attorney General Paula Dow praised the work of her staff and New Jersey State Police.
"The Supreme Court’s order means that Melanie McGuire will serve out her life sentence for the brutal murder of her husband," she said in a written statement. "Justice will stand for William McGuire — a justice that was achieved through the diligent and skillful work of the attorneys and detectives who handled this case for the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police."
Although this ends this chain of appeals to which McGuire was entitled, she can seek post-conviction relief, which is reserved for such issues as the question of the gun and that are not part of the official court record considered by jurors.
Prezioso said McGuire would not be released even if she chose to do that.
"All defendants that are sentenced to lengthy periods of incarceration try various means of getting out of prison," she said. "I’m confident any attempt won’t be successful.’’
Previous coverage:Melanie McGuire's attorney files motions signaling appeal