ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – A 76-year-old former Chicago-area man who authorities say his reputation as an honest citizen to convince the police it is 45 years since a crash that killed his wife was an accident, has been convicted of first-degree murder in her death.
On Monday afternoon, members of the jury in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, has been determined for only three hours before the guilty verdict against Donnie Rudd, a one-time school, the board of directors and respected lawyer.
The speed that the judgment was again made clear that the jury does not believe Rudd’s lawyer’s explanation that the death of the 19-year-old Noreen Kumeta Rudd was a “tragic accident.” The plaintiffs argued that Donnie Rudd, who is under heavy financial pressure, plotted to kill his wife to collect $120,000 in insurance money.
“The defendant not to marry Noreen, because he loved her,” Assistant State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy told jurors at the start of the trial. “He married her because he wanted to kill her.”
Prosecutors said Rudd was living with another woman and her children until shortly before he announced he was marrying the teenager. And, they said, as soon as she died a month after the couple married — Rudd returned to the other woman.
Noreen Rudd ‘s death bears a striking resemblance to one of the Chicago area’s most famous murder cases, with a one-time suburban police sergeant. Drew Peterson was convicted in 2012 of first-degree murder of his ex-wife Kathleen Savio, eight years after her body was found in a bathtub.
In both cases, the men were respected members of their community and the deaths of the women were excluded by accident, until their bodies were exhumed years later and the subsequent autopsies reclassified their deaths as homicides.
And if Peterson got away with Savio’s murder to his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared, Rudd was not charged for more than four decades until the police investigated the 1991 death of another woman who had been one of his customers. It was during that investigation that detectives found notes about Noreen Rudd’s death, and re-open that investigation.
Rudd, who recently lived in Sugar Land, Texas, was arrested. He was out of jail on a $400,000 cash bond until Monday, when he was taken back into custody. His sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.