Husband Enters Guilty Plea for Killing Wife on Cruise Ship

Two years after Robert McGill, from Los Angeles, California, was escorted from the Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship Elation, he has pled guilty to the murder of his wife. Robert McGill now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will be sentenced on November 8th.

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It was two years ago that he was on a cruise with his wife, Shirley McGill. She was found dead in their cabin. The couple was celebrating Robert McGill’s 55th birthday on the cruise.

Based on a news story out of San Diego, information obtained from court papers indicated that Robert McGill was “extremely intoxicated” and witnesses described him stumbling and barely able to walk. McGill had confessed to killing his wife in writing and also verbally to the ship’s security officers and F.B.I. agents. F.B.I. agents had flown to the ship to investigate the death. An F.B.I. agent escorted Robert McGill off the ship and he was arrested in July of 2009. He had been married to his wife since 2003 and they were former high school sweethearts. He worked at Cash Risk Youths for the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

I have previously written about disappearances and crimes onboard cruise ships and the difficulty in proving what happened, which leads to the inability to prosecute anybody for a crime. In this particular murder onboard a cruise ship, not only was his wife’s body discovered by the ship’s personnel, but the husband has confessed to the murder.

While of course this is an isolated incident involving a criminal act by one spouse against another, there have been many disappearances and crimes reported which occurred onboard cruise ships, and they have received national attention over the years, especially following the disappearance of George Smith during his honeymoon cruise.

The problem with intoxication onboard a cruise ship has also been a topic of discussion, regarding safety issues at sea. Issues of legal liability on the part of a cruise ship company for not properly monitoring the serving of alcohol and for not taking appropriate actions once a passenger does become obviously intoxicated, often arise following an incident where intoxication is involved. A cruise ship company can be held accountable for accidents or even intentional aces of misconduct under certain circumstances. An experienced maritime lawyer can evaluate the facts and circumstances to determine any potential liability under the maritime laws that govern the cruise ships.

Our firm continues to act as safety advocates for passengers and crewmembers who are injured or harmed at sea.