Man Convicted in 1973 Death of Wife in Suburban Chicago

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 3, 2018US News
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Man Convicted in 1973 Death of Wife in Suburban Chicago
(Screenshot/Fox 32; Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office)

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An Illinois man was convicted of murdering his wife 45 years ago this week.

Prosecutors argued that Donnie Rudd, now 76, murdered his teenage wife Noreen Kumeta Rudd in 1973 but staged the death to look like a car accident.

Authorities at the time in Barrington believed Rudd because he was a lawyer and known as an upstanding citizen, they said.

“The defendant made it look like an accident, and he fooled a lot of people,” Assistant State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy told jurors just before they began deliberating the case, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Donnie Rudd had been living with another woman and her four children almost right up to the announcement he was getting married to Noreen, and the crash occurred less than one month after the wedding.

Despite those facts and the fact that Rudd inherited about $120,000 as a result of his young bride’s death, he was never considered a suspect in the death, prosecutors said.

Several months after Noreen Rudd died, he married his former girlfriend.

“It’s been a 45-year nightmare. I’m just glad it’s over,” said Noreen Rudd’s sister Donna Haggerton.

Rudd’s lawyers argued that the case against him relied on innuendos.

“They put together a circumstantial case built on innuendos and painted him as a bad guy,” said Rudd attorney Tim Grace.

The case was reopened in 2012 after Rudd was questioned as a suspect in an unsolved 1991 murder, reported CBS. During the questioning, Rudd said Noreen Rudd died inside the vehicle after the car crash but later claimed he didn’t know whether or not she left the car.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said on Monday that Rudd will face a minimum sentence of 14 years in prison, and that a sentencing date has not been set as of yet.

 

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