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Long Island

Fiancee of fireman killed 9/11 gets half his pension

The fiancee of a Long Island firefighter who was killed on 9/11 will be allowed to keep half of his $72,000 pension, a Brooklyn State Supreme justice ruled last week.

Justice Laura L. Jacobsen upheld an earlier ruling by the FDNY pension system that allowed Doreen Noone to have half of the pension of Kevin Prior of Bellmore, whom she planned to marry in 2002.

The ruling will allow Prior's parents, Gerard and Marion, to have the other half of the pension benefit.

The case had sparked a bitter court fight revolving around a special law passed after Sept. 11 that allowed "domestic partners" of 15 named firefighters killed on that date to apply for pension benefits.

Noone contended that she had cohabited with Prior before he died and had relied on him for some support. Prior's parents, in challenging Noone's right to the pension benefit, said their son never lived with her at their home in Bellmore.

While allowing Noone, a Queens schoolteacher, to retain her pension benefit, Jacobsen was critical of her in the decision, saying it was "unfortunate" that Noone tried to embellish her testimony with claims she slept with Prior in his bed in the home of strict parents who didn't condone such activity.

"She embarrassed two people who welcomed her into their home as a daughter and caused unnecessary anguish," said Jacobsen. "For this course of behavior, she owes them a heartfelt apology."

Noone said in a statement released through her attorney Philip Seelig: "It deeply saddens me that this case ever had to go to court. . . . I continue to mourn the loss of Kevin and hope this decision brings closure to his family and loved ones."

Attorney Norman Siegel said, "The Priors are extremely disappointed in the decision. We should not elevate the relationship to something it was not."

Siegel said the Priors were considering an appeal.

Noone married Prior's friend, NYPD Sgt. Edward Wheeler, in 2004.

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