A man whose wife was one of two women shot to death nearly two years ago has reluctantly given a legal statement in a civil lawsuit filed by his children, who claim damages on the allegation that he killed her.

Attorneys for William Gray Jr., Jackson, Wyo., failed Wednesday in a bid to get 7th District Judge Ted Wood to prevent or delay the deposition. They contended it was being sought for use in possible criminal proceedings against him and violated his constitutional rights.Gray's wife, Betty Lou Gray, 47, and Reeda Roundy, 49, Idaho Falls, were shot to death at Roundy's residence east of Idaho Falls July 24, 1989.

No criminal charges have been filed in the deaths but Gray's children filed a wrongful death civil suit against him.

It seeks unspecified damages and the $277,516 proceeds from life insurance policies. Gray is the primary beneficiary of each policy, and one or both children are contingent beneficaries.

Attorney Douglas Balfour of Pocatello said Thursday the insurance company he represents has sent its insurance proceeds to the court to decide who gets it. Balfour said his client hasn't paid anyone because it received conflicting requests from the woman's husband and children.

Idaho law prevents people from collecting life insurance policy proceeds if they caused the insured person's death. In his answer to the civil suit, Gray denied the accusation and requested the insurance money be paid to him.

He also filed a counterclaim seeking return of his wife's jewelry, which he said he gave to the children in December 1989. He says he requested return of the jewelry a year later but was refused.