Over the past two decades, there has been a rise in women convicted of – and in many cases accepting responsibility for – high-profile murders. The crimes run the gamut from depraved indifference – think tourist-killer Antoinette Pelzer – to the desperate, like Melissa Drexler, who was convicted of manslaughter for killing her baby at her prom. “You see women getting more and more involved in violent crime, including homicide. There is no question about it,” said Robert Bianchi, who prosecuted murder cases in Morris and Hudson counties over a 28-year period. Bianchi, who is writing a book about high- profile murders in New Jersey, said he is shocked at the apparent lack of motive in some of today’s murders. “In the past, women killed over money, a paramour – things you could wrap your arms around,” he said. “It’s gotten senseless.” Bianchi believes violence in movies, tele- vision and on the Internet has helped to normal-
ize murder as an option in today’s society. “In general," he said, "we are becoming a more violent society.” Here are some of the most notorious slayings committed by women in New Jersey: Melanie McGuire What she did: Known as “the suitcase killer,” Melanie McGuire drugged, shot, then dismembered her 39-year-old husband Bill in April 2004 in their Woodbridge home. McGuire stuffed her husband’s remains in three matching suitcases and dumped them in the Cheseapeake Bay. The suitcases were recovered during three days in May 2004. Why: Prosecutors would later say the motive was so McGuire could be with her lover, a doctor who worked with her at a fertility clinic in Morristown. Sentence: McGuire was sentenced to life in prison and must serve more than 63 years before she is eligible for parole.
by Anthony G. Attrino
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