SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A nuclear engineer who was first questioned two decades ago after the suspicious death of his new wife is on trial in Southern California on charges of murder and insurance fraud in what prosecutors say is a poisoning case.
Authorities didn't have enough evidence to charge Paul Curry in 1994, but a refreshed investigation in 2007 yielded a new scientific report that Orange County prosecutors say shows he gave his wife, 50-year-old Linda Curry, a fatal dose of nicotine, the Orange County Register reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1qi7MV8).
Curry, who was 37 then, collected more than $500,000 in life insurance and other benefits after his wife's death. He requested his first payments the day after her funeral and bought himself a Cadillac within six months, Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh told jurors during opening statements Tuesday.
"Linda Curry was for him nothing more than a paycheck," he said.
Paul Curry's public defender, Lisa Kopelman, told the jury that Linda Curry had had serious health issues, including gastrointestinal problems, for years before her death.
The nicotine found in her system could have been taken as a treatment for those issues because it can be used as medicine for irritable bowel syndrome, she said.
In 1993, a year before her death, both Currys were questioned when hospital staff discovered a dose of lidocaine in Linda Curry's IV bag while she was being hospitalized for unexplained vomiting, headaches and bloody diarrhea, the newspaper reported. At the time, Paul Curry said he had nothing to gain from his wife's death.
Curry, now 57, was arrested in 2010 in Salina, Kansas, where he had rebuilt his life and worked as a chief county building inspector.
Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com