SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com/AP) — A jury has convicted a man of poisoning his wife to death with nicotine in San Clemente.
Paul Marshal Curry, 57, was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in an Orange County courtroom, according to court records. He now faces life in prison.
Prosecutors said Curry killed his 50-year-old wife, Linda, to collect more than $500,000 in life insurance and benefits after she died. Prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh said during the trial that Curry sedated his wife before injecting her with nicotine to kill her, calling him a “vicious, cold-blooded murderer” driven by greed and an “insatiable appetite for money.”
Curry’s lawyer, Lisa Kopelman, has said Curry’s wife suffered from a series of health issues.
But Baytieh said the victim herself pointed at her husband as the likely culprit during one of her multiple trips to hospitals to determine what was ailing her.
“Well, the only person I could think of that would do it would be Paul, and the only motive I can think of is money,” Linda Curry told investigators, according to Baytieh.
She told investigators her husband was acting “sneaky” and that the two had not had sex since they were married, the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor also pointed to the testimony of a woman married to Curry before he met Linda.
“She started getting sick, they can’t tell what’s wrong, she can barely get out of bed and then he says, ‘Hey, honey, let’s get some life insurance policies,’ ” Baytieh said. “He gets accepted, she gets rejected and shortly after that he leaves her, and quickly after that she’s fine. That’s his M.O., his plan, his scheme. She got lucky because she got rejected.”
The former nuclear engineer was arrested in 2010 in Salina, Kan., where he had rebuilt his life and worked as a building official.
Curry and his wife met in 1989 while both worked at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in northern San Diego County.
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