Murderer Joann Curley Freed from Prison

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WILKES-BARRE -- After murdering her husband with rat poison 25 years ago, convicted killer Joann Curley walked out of a state prison Monday morning and is now a free woman.

At midnight Sunday night, Curley left the Cambridge Spring's Women's Prison near Erie to an escort van that took her to where she will stay for at least the short term. robert-curley

She served 20 years at the state prison for killing her husband Robert Curley.

Joann Curley admitted she put rat poison in his tea at least 12 times and started poisoning him just two months after their August 1990 wedding. He died about a year later.

"The most challenging part of the Curley (investigation) was obtaining evidence that was admissible during trial," said former Luzerne County District Attorney Peter Paul Olszewski.

Olszewski, who prosecuted the case, points out a challenging part of it was finding how Curley died. Forensics was a new science at the time.

"The most important evidence, of course, were the hair samples and fingernail samples. Those samples were submitted to toxicology. Those samplings showed repeated ingestions over a period of time," Olszewski explained.

Curley did not plead guilty until 1997, six years after the murder. Still, during all that time, newspaper reporter Carol Crane kept writing about Robert Curley's death in the Citizens' Voice, showing the evidence pointed to Joann Curley.

"She never shed a tear," said Crane. "People were always curious to find out what was going on, and I think the reason why was because of the horrible way this poor man died. He was tortured."

Curley lived on Perkins Street in Plains Township, near Wilkes-Barre. It's not clear if she'll move back in the neighborhood.

Crane believes she should not have been allowed out of jail.

"The Curley family lost a wonderful son, they lost a brother. He's not getting home to his family like that, it's just a tremendous injustice," said Crane. "I don't think she's rehabilitated. The parole board never thought she was a rehabilitated murderer."

When she pleaded guilty in 1997, Curley says she killed the man she had been married to for just two months, to collect $300,000 from his life insurance.

The case was supposed to be tried as a death penalty case. Part of the reason that the death penalty was pulled off the table is because the family wanted closure.

In the last two decades, Joann Curley applied for parole eight times and every single time the state denied parole, in large part because Robert Curley's siblings, and his mother, who died last year, demanded the woman serve her entire term.

Joann Curley is now 53 years old. What we don't know is where she intends to live, and if it will be in Luzerne County where she is from and where some of her relatives live.


  • Donald J. Drumpf

    She’s served her time. We need to move forward together. Can’t wait to put this nasty woman in my cabinet, probably as Secretary of Domestic Violence. I love women. Nobody loves women more than I do. I love women so much it’ll make your head spin. Bigly.

  • tomtom

    all I need is my gun, my knife, and my fishing pole…oh…and my strappy tee shirt and a folding chair to look out the window…welcome to Donald Trump’s America…

  • Kimberly Maehrer

    So now she can marry some other poor fool and poison him for his life insurance. Our “justice” system is really screwed up.

    • Sarah

      I’m not condoning what she did at all, but she served out her term. That’s all that can be done. All that can be done now is hope that she is a changed woman now.

      • WTH

        Plea deal or not, “she did her sentence,” based on the justice system, not based on justice..she should get life with no parole if not death. This was no accident or manslaughter. This was with greedy and malicious intent. Don’t know anyone who would be able to trust her. I wouldn’t eat or drink anything she touched! Imagine this one working in a kitchen?! Horrors!
        As a Christian, we are supposed to forgive. But that doesn’t mean forgetting sometimes. Nothing about that says you have to be besties!

      • CeeMe

        Yes, she served her sentence, but the sentence should have been death or life without parole. What she did was devious and almost sociopathic. She should have never seen the light of day and I hope for society’s sake, she is a changed person. Maybe she can do something constructive with her life, like lose weight! Whatever happened to justice?

    • Writer Girl

      Yes, it is. People who kill/murder someone else, shouldn’t be allowed to plea deal like she did, but that’s our “rights.” The right of scumbags to live and the victims to be victimized. At the very least, she should have gotten life. Even the prosecutor and parole board don’t think she ever showed remorse.

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    They were only married for 2 months? Poisoned him 12 times and only got 3rd degree? This thing should never have been allowed parole. Go liberals go!

    • Sidney

      You’re not very bright, are you?

      Your application to ISIS has been approved. Need help packing or are you just bringing a vest?

    • BE NICE

      Some people possess no empathy and can only understand the pain of others when it directly touches their own lives. It that were my son and his wife murdered him in cold blood for money,….no thank you, I don’t even want to think about what the fate I’d wish for his murderer.

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