New Jersey Woman Accused of Hacking Husband to Pieces Faces New Charges

A New Jersey woman accused of hacking her husband into pieces and dumping his remains in suitcases was indicted Monday on new charges of writing anonymous letters to throw detectives off her trail.

In an eight-count indictment unsealed Monday in Middlesex County Superior Court, Melanie McGuire was charged with hindering prosecution, evidence tampering and filing false reports.

McGuire has been free on $2 million bail since being indicted on murder charges last June, and was expected remain free after posting the $100,000 additional bail imposed Monday. She pleaded not guilty to the new charges.

Police discovered the murder in May 2004 after three suitcases containing the remains of computer programmer William T. McGuire washed up along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.

Assistant Attorney General Patricia Prezioso revealed new, lurid details of the case Monday, including allegations that Melanie McGuire conducted Internet searches in the days before her husband's disappearance on topics such as using pesticides as poisons, state gun laws and how to commit murder.

Prezioso alleged that McGuire, a reproductive health care nurse, forged a prescription for a powerful sedative, which she then used to sedate her husband before shooting him and dismembering the body inside their Woodbridge apartment.

In arguing against additional bail, her lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said McGuire's former lover, who was her boss at the fertility clinic, "forgot" to tell authorities he bought a hacksaw just before William McGuire died until after he got immunity in exchange for being a witness.

McGuire, a petite 32-year-old brunette with curly hair, sat stoically through much of the 90-minute proceeding, arms folded neatly across her small frame. Her parents and family occupied the row behind her, while a sister of the victim sat in the back of the courtroom.

Monday's proceeding hinged on two anonymous letters intended to lift suspicion from McGuire. In a rambling, four-page letter to former Attorney General Peter Harvey penned last year, the writer claimed McGuire did not kill her husband. In a second correspondence, sent inside a package containing a ring alleged to be the victim's wedding band, and a key to his car, the writer said the items were found in trash at the victim's sister's workplace along with notes on "how to set up Melanie" for murder.

Matching suitcases containing McGuire's remains were found near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on May 5, 11 and 16, 2004. The New Jersey Institute of Technology employee had been shot at least twice. He disappeared just after the McGuires closed on a new home in Warren County. His car was found abandoned in Atlantic City.