Criminologists create podcast based on the New Jersey ‘suitcase murder’

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TEANECK -

Two criminologists from Fairleigh Dickinson University have created a podcast based on the well-known New Jersey criminal case known as “the suitcase murders.”

The podcast is called “Direct Appeal” and it looks at the case of Melanie McGuire.

McGuire, of Woodbridge, was convicted in the 2004 murder of her husband. Authorities say that McGuire killed and dismembered her husband, packaged his body into suitcases and then threw them off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Virginia. She was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison.

McGuire has maintained her innocence and reached out to criminologist Meghan Sacks to take a look at her case.

“The first thing I said when I sat down in visitation with Melanie was I was not there as her lawyer, not there as her advocate. If we did anything with regards to her story or investigated it at all it would be from a completely unbiased point of view and she might not like how it turns out in the end because I might conclude that she is guilty as charged,” says Sacks. “She was immediately OK with that.”

Over two years, Sacks and her fellow FDU criminologist Amy Shlosberg re-examined the case. The prosecution's mountain of circumstantial evidence, the lack of forensic evidence and the stories presented by both prosecutors at the time and McGuire herself in 40 hours of new interviews.

“I say over and over, 'I don't know if she did it or not,' but if she did it, she absolutely did not do it the way the prosecution said she did,” says Shlosberg. “The timeline doesn't add up, the lack of forensic evidence. It did not happen in that way.”

From the lack of blood in a small Woodbridge apartment where prosecutors said McGuire cut up her husband's body, to McGuire's inexplicable actions in the days after her husband went missing - the podcast is a 14-episode roller-coaster search for what seems to still be missing in this case - a version of the facts, based on evidence presented by both sides, that makes sense.

The criminologists say they plan to take questions from listeners and ask them directly of McGuire themselves for the final episode of the series.

“Direct Appeal” can be found wherever podcasts are heard.

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