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Disbarred Attorney Donnie Rudd Accused of Murdering Wife 45 Years Ago
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Donnie Rudd

Summary: A former Illinois attorney accused of murdering his wife 45 years ago is now facing trial for the alleged murder.

The trial into the 1973 murder of Noreen Kumeta began today with her husband and former attorney Donnie Rudd as the defendant. The disbarred Illinois attorney is accused of beating his then 19-year-old wife to death just weeks after they were married.

  
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Rudd, now 76, uses a wheelchair to move around. He claims he has colorectal cancer and is in a great deal of pain. Prosecutors allege that Rudd killed his wife and made it look like a car accident so he could get the $120,000 life insurance policy on her. Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy said, “The victim and the defendant would have had to have been married in order for him to have been the beneficiary on these payouts. Nineteen-year-old Noreen Rudd had taken out the maximum policy of $100,000.”

The two had been married for 27 days. When police arrived on the scene, Rudd was cradling his wife in the ditch. He told police that an oncoming car forced them off the road and Noreen was thrown from the car where her head hit a rock. No autopsy was performed at the time and just ruled an accident. He collected the life insurance money and was married eight months later.

Jury selection for the trial against the former Schaumburg School Board President began Monday, according to ABC 7 Chicago. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 14 years in prison. After his career ended in 194 as an attorney, he became a medical scientist.

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Rudd’s former stepdaughter, Glory Hart, said, “There’s just a lot of things that never added up or made sense.” Soon after Kumeta’s death, Rudd married Glory’s mother Dianne Hart. Glory’s two sisters wrote a book called “Living with the Devil,” portraying their life with Rudd. She added, “Still had a lot of memories, questions, suspicious things that we observed over the years. We want answers to those questions.” Dianne Hart died a few years ago of breast cancer. Rudd never contacted them after her death.

Rudd claimed Kumeta’s death was the result of a car accident on Route 68 in Barrington Hills. However, prosecutors believed he killed her first and then staged the accident so they had her body exhumed in 2013. With the results of their investigation, prosecutors reclassified her death as a homicide. Forensic pathologists found several blows to her head.



While Rudd may not be worried, telling reporters, “I’m not worried. I’m innocent. We have a lot of evidence to prove it,” he is the suspect in another murder. Prosecutors say that Rudd is the suspect in a murder 16 years after Kumeta’s death. This victim was a former legal client of Rudd’s named Lauretta “Teri” Tabac-Bodke. She was found shot to death in her home. She had threatened to report Rudd to the state for attorney malpractice. Witnesses were able to put him near the scene of the crime.

Rudd is out on bond after posting the $4 million bond in 2016. It took him nine months to come up with the money after the initial arrest in Texas.

Do you think there is any point in a trial when Rudd will likely die soon anyway? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys accused of murder, read these articles:

Photo: chicagotribune.com



 

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