Husband who poisoned his wife with nicotine gets life in prison

Husband who killed wife with fatal dose of nicotine 20 years ago gets life in prison

A former nuclear power plant engineer who killed his wife 20 years ago with a fatal dose of nicotine was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Former San Clemente resident Paul Curry, 58, collected on a $500,000 life insurance policy and started life anew in Kansas after his wife’s death in 1994.

During the sentencing in Orange County Superior Court, one of Linda Curry’s friends said exactly 7,549 days had passed since her friend “was murdered in her own home, in her own bed, by her own husband.”

Each day that elapsed, Merry Seabold said, “I have grieved to know that the person who professed to love her and took vows to protect her, murdered her.”

On a June night in 1994, Curry injected a deadly dose of nicotine behind his wife's ear, prosecutors argued during the trial.

Curry dialed 911 to report that his wife had stopped breathing. She died at a hospital hours later, prosecutors said.

Linda Curry had been hospitalized twice before during her 21-month marriage to the San Onofre nuclear power plant engineer, according to testimony.

During one such stay, someone tampered with her IV bag, leading to a police investigation. Police asked her in a recorded interview, which was played during the trial, whether anyone would have reason to hurt her:

"The only person I could think of that would have a motive to do it would be Paul,” she said. “And the only motive I can think of is money. But I don't really even want to think that or believe that."

When he was arrested in 2010, Curry had remarried and was working as a civil engineer. Prosecutors described Curry has highly intelligent, and "possibly a genius."

"My aunt, like all of us, was flawed," Linday Curry's niece Rickianne Rycraft said in court Friday. "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."

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