Case # 10CF3053
Date: November 14, 2014
HUSBAND SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE FOR 1994 SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES POISONING-MURDER OF WIFE FOR FINANCIAL GAIN
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the special circumstances poisoning-murder of his wife for financial gain in 1994. Paul Marshal Curry, 58, Salina, KS, was found guilty by a jury Sept. 30, 2014, of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain with a sentencing enhancement for murder by poisoning.
Late on the night of June 9, 1994, Paul Curry used nicotine to poison his wife of two years, Linda Curry. Paul Curry called 911 and told emergency personnel that the victim was in bed and not breathing. Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies responded to the scene and medical personnel rushed Linda Curry to the hospital where she died hours later.
Paul Curry collected over $500,000 from his wife’s life insurance policies. At the time of the crime, Paul Curry was a suspect, but the case went cold.
In 2007, OCSD and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office began reinvestigating the case. As a result of further investigation, Paul Curry was arrested in Kansas in 2010 by OCSD deputies. He was subsequently extradited from Kansas to face the charges in Orange County.
During the trial, Paul Curry’s former wife testified that she was frequently sick during the last year of their marriage and that the defendant had suggested they both sign-up for life insurance policies. When the life insurance policy for his former wife was denied, the couple separated and her re-occurring health problems stopped.
During the sentencing, Linda Curry’s family and friends delivered impact statements to the court. Merry Seabold, who was a close friend to Linda Curry, said in part, “Exactly 7,459 days, as of today, have passed since my best friend Linda was murdered in her own home, in her own bed, by her own husband. I have never had a doubt of who could have done such a horrific thing to such a sweet soul and on each of those 7,459 days, as I have thought of Linda, I have grieved to know that the person who professed to love her and took vows to protect her, murdered her.”
Linda Curry’s niece, Rickianne Rycraft, delivered an impact statement to the court and said in part, “There is a tendency in our society to elevate the character of someone after death. My aunt, like all of us, was flawed. But her single greatest flaw, the flaw that made her vulnerable to a predator like Paul Curry, is that she always thought the best of others.” She went on to say, “Her generosity of spirit, which is a character trait not exaggerated after her death, was likely her fatal flaw. She was not prepared or equipped to recognize or deal with a predatorial psychopath, who lacks empathy or conscience, who is able to feign affection indefinitely, who is a master liar and con artist capable of murder.”
Assistant District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh, formerly of the Homicide Unit and now head of the Special Prosecutions Unit, prosecuted this case.