Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A judge’s denial Friday of a defense motion clears the way for a former nuclear engineer to be sentenced Nov. 14 for the 1994 poisoning death of his wife in San Clemente.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue rejected a motion alleging Paul Marshal Curry, 57, was denied due process due to delayed prosecution.

Curry was convicted last month of first-degree murder and insurance fraud, and jurors found true special circumstance allegations of killing for financial gain and murder by poisoning. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Curry met his wife — he was 13 years her junior — in 1989 while both were working at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County. After her June 9, 1994, death, Curry collected $547,695 in life insurance and other benefits, Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said.

Curry’s attorney, Lisa Kopelman, told jurors that Linda Curry suffered from a variety of maladies such as chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, depression and stomach pain.

Baytieh countered that the victim herself pointed to 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.

During one hospital stay, the victim nearly died and there was evidence that her IV bag had been tampered with, Baytieh said, but the defendant was emailing their friends that she was receiving good medical care.

The prosecutor also pointed to the testimony of Curry’s wife prior to his marriage to 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 told the jury. “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.”

City News Service

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