Former high school sweethearts Robert McGill and his wife reunited and married five years ago in what seemed to be a moment of kismet.
Friends and neighbors are now stunned to learn the veteran Los Angeles County school teacher is accused of killing his 55-year-old wife Shirley during a domestic dispute on a cruise to Mexico.
McGill was arrested Thursday when the Carnival Elation arrived at the ship's homeport San Diego. According to the medical examiner, Shirley McGill died from blunt force injuries and strangulation.
News of the murder spread quickly to McGill's neighborhood in Winnetka, a small community in San Fernando Valley. Neighbor Michael Hougardy described the McGills as a happy couple.
"They got along great, all is fine," Hougardy said.
The McGills had been married for about four years, according to Hougardy. He also said Shirley McGill worked for the DMV and the cruise was supposed to be a celebration.
"That was kind of their retirement gift, before she took off to Oregon," Hougardy said.
Robert McGill teaches an independent study program in Canoga Park, and has worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Education since 1979.
He has two grown sons from a previous marriage. Shirley McGill has children living in Oregon. She had planned to move there and Robert McGill was going to join her when he retired.