Life of lies, not love, jury says, in man's marital fraud suit

April 09, 1993|By Orange County Register

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- It was a life of lies and not love, jurors concluded as they sided with an Orange County banker who sued his wife for marital fraud.

The price tag for no passion: $242,000 for starters. A Santa Ana judge will decide Monday if Ronald Askew also should collect four pieces of property he and his estranged wife own.

Ronald Askew sued his wife of 17 years for fraud, alleging that she lied when she said she loved him before their wedding day.

"If you're not going to be honest with each other, why get #F married?" he said.

A jury of six men and six women deliberated 1 1/2 days before finding Wednesday that Bonette Askew intentionally defrauded her husband.

Bonette Askew angrily denied defrauding her husband. But she said her love, and her desire, had diminished over the years. "How many women out there have an ongoing, white-hot passion for their husbands every day?" she asked.

She has not decided whether to appeal.

Juror Amy Beard also said she was swayed by Ronald Askew's statements that he repeatedly questioned his wife before the marriage to make sure she loved him.

"For a lot of us, it was his honesty and integrity -- his repeatedly asking her to be truthful," Ms. Beard said.

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