Man accused of poisoning wife for life insurance found guilty of murder

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A former nuclear engineer accused of poisoning his wife with a lethal injection of nicotine was found guilty of first-degree murder and insurance fraud in a Santa Ana courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

The jury reached the verdict after one day of deliberation.

In 1994, nine months into their marriage, prosecutors say Paul Marshal Curry, 57, murdered his then 50-year-old wife, Linda Curry.

Paul Curry, left, was found guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 in the 1994 death of his wife, Linda.

The prosecution called him a "vicious, cold-blooded murderer" driven by greed and an "insatiable appetite for money." Prosecutors claimed the motive was $547,695 from his wife's life insurance policies and other benefits.

After his wife's death in San Clemente in 1994, he moved to Kansas where he worked as a city building inspector. Curry was arrested in 2010, 16 years after his wife's death. He was charged with murder and insurance fraud.

During the trial, Curry's defense attorney Lisa Kopelman told jurors that Curry was a loving husband who nursed his chronically ill wife. The jury did not agree.

"I think we had a very smart jury that went through all the evidence and kept thinking that for 16 years he was enjoying the fact that, in his mind, he thought he got away with murder," prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh said.

Linda Curry's friends and family wept and held hands as the guilty verdict was read Tuesday.

"This is really about Linda and what a beautiful person she was," Linda Curry's friend, Bruce Brandt said. "We can't bring her back, but at least some justice is here now that he has to pay and think about her for the rest of his life."

Curry is due back in court on Oct. 31 when his sentencing date will be set. He faces a maximum of life without the possibility of parole in state prison.

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