Melanie McGuire insists she’s innocent in husband’s 2004 killing: Part 1

McGuire has been in jail for 13 years. Her trial captured the nation’s attention after fishermen found her husband’s legs in a suitcase.
7:08 | 09/26/20

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Transcript for Melanie McGuire insists she’s innocent in husband’s 2004 killing: Part 1
I'm a criminologist at Fairleigh Dickinson university. In simplest terms, criminology is the scientific study of what causes crime and how the criminal justice system responds to crime. I've written about 25 true-crime books over the years. And I think Melanie Mcguire's is perhaps one of the most interesting ones, and baffling. This is Melanie Mcguire, arrested today minutes after dropping off her children at daycare. Melanie Mcguire, a New Jersey nurse, was accused of killing her husband, cutting up his body, and throwing it into the Chesapeake bay. In 2007, what was being called the suitcase murder trial was generating an enormous amount of media attention. Not just in New Jersey, but all across the country. Three bizarre discoveries. Three separate suitcases all containing human remains. A woman who is on trial for her very life. She says the real truth behind the crime has never been revealed. With no history of violence and no apparent motive for murder, could she really have done it? She was this beautiful young nurse, and they were this seemingly normal middle-class couple, and the murder happened in such a grisly way. The idea that this beautiful nurse could have actually killed her husband and then cut him up is just incredible. Of course there were the salacious aspects. Mrs. Mcguire is a registered nurse, and prosecutors say she had an affair with a doctor. She didn't fit the profile, I guess, of a murderer. Over the years, students and colleagues of ours have come to me and said, Melanie Mcguire proclaims her innocence and would love to tell her story. I started thinking, oh, maybe there is a little more to this case than what you see on the surface. Then the idea of a podcast came up and I was all in. On "Direct appeal" we examine the murder conviction of Melanie Mcguire following a highly publicized trial. Looking at the evidence that was presented and the evidence that may have seemed insignificant at the time, we form our own conclusion about Melanie's guilt. We here at ABC have our own history with the Melanie Mcguire case. Back in 2007, ABC's Cynthia Mcfadden had the first on-camera interview with the mother of two on trial for murdering her husband. Who is the Melanie Mcguire you hope the jury knows? The one who tried to take care of everybody, who didn't make the smartest decisions, but admitted to those mistakes to the people she trusted most, but did not admit what she's accused of. I have been incarcerated for 12 1/2, going on 13 years now. Do you still insist that you're innocent? Absolutely. You're sitting here a wrongfully convicted person. Correct. Absolutely. And what have those years been like? I tell people it's not as bad as you think in some ways. And it's so much worse than I could ever articulate in others. After all these years, I still feel hurt. I still feel bothered. I still feel like, how could somebody think that I did that? This whole saga begins on may 5th, 2004, with an odd discovery in Virginia Beach. Early morning, a couple of fishermen and their kids are out on a boat by the Chesapeake bay. Me and my friend don Connors was going to go out fishing. We both had days off, and "D" or don, we called him "D", said he keep his kids out of school, we're going to take them fishing. So everybody was excited. We went right out rough this bridge, run right into the Chesapeake bay tunnel. The Chesapeake bay bridge tunnel is about 17.5 miles long. It really is quite astonishing. It connects the eastern shore of Virginia to Virginia Beach. Has two tunnels for two shipping channels. And once you get on the other side, you go north, you're up into Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey. We went out there and anchored off of fisherman's island, and we were just doing some fishing. And suddenly, one notices that a suitcase has floated by. We wheeled the boat around, pulled up alongside it. I immediately thought it probably blew off of a car, you know, off the luggage rack or something. "D" and his son reached over, were trying to pull it in. It had some weight to it so I stopped the boat, reached over and helped pull the thing in there. And laid it in the floor of the boat. They found a dark green Kenneth Cole suitcase in pretty good condition that was apparently part of a luggage set of three. They put it on board, and the little boy with them is very, very excited. He thinks it's buried treasure, so he wants to open it. The contents were covered with a thick trash bag, like a hefty bag or something. And I said, uh-oh. I was a little bit nervous then when I saw the black bags in so I turned to say something to "D" and while I was talking to "D," the young boy reached down and ripped open the plastic trash bags. There was no doubt of what it it was a set of human legs. There's a pair of male legs from the knee down. Looked very fresh. And they recoil in horror. I looked down there and said, oh, my gracious. So I closed the bag back up and I dialed 911. I was out on patrol in the Chesapeake bay when I received a radio call. I made arrangements with him to meet me, and he transferred a suitcase over to my boat. I handed him the luggage, and he seemed surprised. He goes, what do you want me to do with that? I said, open it up. I was pretty shocked. I'd never seen a suitcase with body parts in it before. There really wasn't any smell. They actually looked kind of fresh. The first suitcase being found was big news. It's not, you know, a common find, by any means, especially in this area. This is an alarming story. Everybody wanted to know who the man in the suitcase was. We kind of figured there had to be other suitcases with other parts in it. After the initial shock of them finding the suitcase, everyone was just waiting for what was going to wash up next.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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