Murder on the High Seas: Man Who Killed Wife Aboard Carnival Cruise Ship Sentenced to Life in Prison

MIAMI, FL—A Los Angeles man who murdered his wife aboard a Carnival cruise ship in July 2009 was sentenced to life in prison in San Diego court on Dec. 8. According to information provided by the Associated Press, the 57-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges in connection with the cruise ship slaying.

U.S. Chief District Judge Irma Gonzalez sentenced Robert McGill to life in prison after he confessed to killing his wife, Shirley while aboard the Carnival Elation cruise ship.

Reports indicated that McGill and his wife initially embarked on a 5-day cruise voyage to Cabo San Lucas—located in the Baja California peninsula of Mexico—as a means of celebrating his birthday. On July 14, however, their Carnival cruise vacation took a violent and deadly turn.

According to Gonzalez, “Whatever good he has done in the past, whatever decency he had in the past, he left on the bathroom floor on July 14.” McGill reportedly attacked his wife before strangling her to death in the bathroom of their cabin aboard the Carnival cruise ship. The federal judge noted that McGill washed himself off before exiting his cabin to go smoke a cigar on the cruise vessel’s upper deck.

Upon being interrogated by FBI agents who were investigating the cruise murder, McGill claimed he attacked his wife while in an alcohol-induced hallucinogenic state. McGill told investigators he consumed approximately 8 beers, as well as half a bottle of Mezcal (a Mexican alcoholic beverage occasionally bottled with a scorpion inside) on July 14. 

McGill’s defense attorney attempted to persuade Gonzalez to sentence McGill to 11 years and 3 months in prison on the grounds that his client’s violent actions were a result of excessive alcohol consumption, but to no avail.

According to the Miami cruise ship injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, more cruise ship industry reform is needed to adequately protect travelers and employees from preventable injuries, assaults, rapes, and in extreme cases such as the one above, murder.

About the Miami Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers and Crime Victim Attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.

Leading South Florida cruise ship injury lawyers Gerson & Schwartz state that ship firms have managed to avoid potential litigation through unethical business practices for years. Such practices can leave crime and negligence victims struggling to attain compensation for their pain and suffering. For more than 30 years, the Miami injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have been dedicated to protecting the rights of travelers and cruise ship employees who have been sexually assaulted, sustained serious injury or been subject to preventable harm while aboard these “hospitable” vessels.

Contact Information