N.J. Woman Dubbed 'Suitcase Killer' After Husband's Remains Washed Ashore Claims She's Innocent
Melanie McGuire speaks out on 20/20, airing Friday from 9 to 11 p.m. EST
In May of 2004, a dark green Kenneth Cole suitcase was found bobbing in the still-frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It contained a pair of legs that had been severed at the knee.
Days later, a second dark green suitcase washed up on the shores of nearby Fisherman Island. It contained the head and torso of a man later identified as Bill McGuire, a 39, year-old husband and father of two from New Jersey.
Five days after that, a boater near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel found a third suitcase matching the others containing more of the New Jersey Institute of Technology employee’s body parts.
He had been shot multiple times, the medical examiner determined.
In June 2005, his wife and the mother of his two sons, Melanie McGuire, 31, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
On July 19, 2007, the former nurse was convicted of killing him, cutting his body up, stuffing it into three suitcases the couple owned and throwing them into the Chesapeake Bay.
Melanie McGuire admitted to having an affair with a doctor at the fertility clinic where she worked. She said she was unhappy in her marriage.
Prosecutors argued that she killed her husband so she could be with her paramour.
She steadfastly maintained her innocence then, something she still does today.
In a new episode of ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, starting at 9 p.m. ET, McGuire speaks exclusively to co-anchor, Amy Robach, as she fights to overturn her conviction.
“Do you still insist that you're innocent?” Robach asks.
“Absolutely,” replies McGuire in her first on-camera interview since she was sentenced to life in prison on July 19, 2007.
During the interview, McGuire, now 47, who was nicknamed the "suitcase killer," says circumstantial evidence is what landed her in prison for life.
In the exclusive clip above, Robach asks McGuire about the gun she bought two days before her husband’s shooting death.
“You say your husband asked you to purchase the gun, but you purchased a gun just two days before your husband went missing,” says Robach.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
“Of course, it's a coincidence,” says McGuire. “However, he was on me for a while about that, about trying to get that. And if something was happening, if he was in some sort of trouble, that may very well have been the reason why he was so intent on getting it.”
McGuire has said that her husband was a gambling addict and was killed over money he owed.
When Robach asks her why she’s bringing attention to the case again, when it has caused her husband’s family and her sons so much pain, McGuire replies, “I'm doing this because there's a murderer walking around.
"The killer is out there and it's not me."
She adds, “After all these years, I still feel hurt. I still feel bothered. Like, how could somebody think that I did that?”
During the interview, she tells Robach she's hesitant to hold out hope that she could one day be released from prison.
McGuire talks about her troubled relationship with her husband, which was riddled with infidelity and constant arguments, and her affair, which prosecutors claim was the catalyst for her to kill her husband.
She says she regrets not testifying during the trial.
She also tells Robach about her hope that the new podcast Direct Appeal, hosted by criminology professors Dr. Amy Schlosberg and Dr. Meghan Sacks, could help exonerate her.
The episode also features secretly recorded conversations during a police sting between McGuire and the doctor with whom she was having an affair.
The two-hour 20/20 airs on Friday (9:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST) on ABC.
You can also catch Robach weekdays on GMA3: What You Need to Know at 1 pm ET on ABC.