NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The former lover of a woman accused of killing her husband and stuffing his remains into luggage testified Wednesday that they had both planned to leave their spouses and start a life together.
The affair between Dr. Bradley Miller and Melanie McGuire had started with a birthday cake and flirting at Miller's infertility clinic, where McGuire worked as a nurse. Miller said the two had planned to move in together and possibly have kids.
"She was going to divorce Bill, and a while later I was going to divorce Charlotte," he testified at McGuire's murder trial.
In May 2004, suitcases containing parts of Bill McGuire's body began washing up on the shore of Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
Melanie McGuire, a 34-year-old mother of two, maintains that she didn't kill her husband and says the real killer tried to frame her. Her defense lawyers have not said if McGuire will testify during the trial, now in its third week.
She is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of her husband, a 39-year-old state computer analyst.
Miller said he agreed to let authorities record telephone conversations he had with McGuire in May 2005. At no point during the taped conversations played in court Wednesday did McGuire confess or indicate that she was guilty.
Miller asked McGuire directly: "Are you sure you had nothing to do with this?"
McGuire responded: "Yes."
Miller said when police approached him, he still believed in his lover's innocence.
"I was still very much in love with her, and I still believed that she had nothing to do with this," Miller testified.
During cross-examination, Miller said he had "a lot of qualms" about helping authorities make the recordings.
"My thought process was that if she was innocent ... this would be the best piece of evidence that you could have," Miller said.
The prosecution contends that McGuire most likely had help in committing the crime but they have not identified or arrested an accomplice.
The doctor, who did not receive immunity from prosecution, said he played no role in the murder or in any cover-up.
Prosecutors allege that McGuire used the Internet to research gun laws, pesticides and ways to kill. They say her husband was drugged with a sedative, shot in the head and chest, cut into pieces in the couple's apartment and then put into three suitcases that were thrown into the bay.
McGuire's lawyer, Stephen Turano, has said his client's husband had a gambling problem and could have gotten into trouble and borrowed money from the wrong people. The defense has also said that authorities concentrated on their client from the beginning, ignoring evidence that led in other directions.
On Wednesday, the prosecuting attorney in the case, Patricia Prezioso, asked Miller about a letter he received after McGuire became a suspect in her husband's murder. It implied McGuire was being framed.
The prosecution claims that McGuire sent the letters — which were also received by authorities and a local newspaper — to throw suspicion from herself.
Miller testified that McGuire was crying when she told him her husband's body had washed up on the shore in Kenneth Cole suitcases.
"She was very upset," Miller said.
McGuire sat opposite her former lover during the morning court session, taking notes but otherwise showing little reaction.