Offbeat Chicago-area future after guilty verdict in wife's '73 death: Prison — and another murder charge?

17:06  09 july  2018
17:06  09 july  2018 Source:   chicagotribune.com

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a person riding on the back of a bicycle: Murder suspect Donnie Rudd is pushed into the Cook County Courthouse by a bystander for the second day for his murder trial on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 in Rolling Meadows. He is accused of killing his wife, Noreen Kumeta Rudd, 45 years-ago. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune) © Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune / Chicago Tribune Murder suspect Donnie Rudd is pushed into the Cook County Courthouse by a bystander for the second day for his murder trial on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 in Rolling Meadows. He is accused of killing his wife, Noreen Kumeta Rudd, 45 years-ago. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune) Jurors who convicted Donnie Rudd last week of murdering his wife nearly a half-century ago were not told that he was also suspected in the shooting death of an Arlington Heights, Illinois woman.

But the killing of Loretta Tabak-Bodtke in 1991 could be a factor in Rudd's upcoming sentencing.

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Rudd, 76 ,and, according to his lawyer, ill with cancer, was a free man for 45 years after the death of Noreen Rudd, the 19-year-old Carpentersville woman he'd married less than a month before. Donnie Rudd was found cradling his fatally injured bride in their Ford Pinto wagon in a field in Barrington Hills in September 1973, and authorities at the time accepted his explanation that another driver ran them off the road.

But in the intervening decades, while Rudd was working in the Chicago area as an attorney specializing in condo laws, he was also suspected - and even called before a grand a jury - in another killing, that of Tabak-Bodtke, who was 59 when she was shot to death in her home.

Rudd had provided legal services to Tabak-Bodtke, but she, like some of his other clients, thought he was cheating her and had threatened to complain to the state disciplinary board, according to authorities and court documents.

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Tabak-Bodtke's husband discovered her lying in a pool of blood in their kitchen with multiple gunshot wounds to her head, according to court records in the Noreen Rudd murder case.

At least two neighbors said they saw a car with "Mr. Condo" vanity plates in Tabak-Bodtke's driveway that day, and one saw a white male leaving her home with a briefcase after gunshots had been heard, according to the legal filing.

A re-examination of the Arlington Heights cold case was what prompted authorities to take another look at Noreen Rudd's death, leading eventually to her being exhumed and to Donnie Rudd's arrest in 2015.

Guilty verdict four decades in the making: A timeline of the Donnie Rudd case »

It's unclear, though, if authorities will pursue charges against Rudd in connection with Tabak-Bodtke's slaying now that he's been convicted of killing the second of his five wives. Arlington Heights police say they continue to investigate the Tabak-Bodtke case, and the victim's daughter, Stephanie Tabak, said she's hopeful that with the publicity surrounding Donnie Rudd's murder trial, some new evidence might come to light in her mother's death. Tabak attended Rudd's trial in Cook County's Rolling Meadows court.

Illinois man guilty of killing wife in '73, making it look like car crash

  Illinois man guilty of killing wife in '73, making it look like car crash Donnie Rudd, the former northwest suburban lawyer and school board member, has been found guilty of killing his second wife 45 years ago. Rudd, now 76, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder after a weeklong trial in Cook County and about three hours of jury deliberations. Prosecutors said Rudd staged Noreen Kumeta Rudd's death to look like a car accident and that authorities at the time believed him because he had the credentials of an upstanding citizen.But after getting away with the crime for more than four decades, Rudd is now likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

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On Monday afternoon, jurors in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, deliberated for just three hours before returning with the guilty verdict against Noreen Rudd' s death bears a striking resemblance to one of the Chicago area ' s most famous murder cases, featuring a one-time suburban police sergeant.

Rudd's defense attorney, Tim Grace, said prosecutors cannot charge Rudd with Tabak-Bodtke's death if they bring it up at his sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.

"That would be a double jeopardy issue, basically double punishment," Grace said.

Rudd will be allowed to choose to be sentenced under 1973 or current guidelines. The old standard called for a minimum of 14 years with no maximum, but Rudd could potentially be eligible for parole after seven years. Under current sentencing standards, he would face 20 to 60 years and would have to serve 100 percent. It may be a moot point for a man of his age and health.

"If he gets any more than five years (in prison), it's basically a death sentence," Grace said.

Rudd had put up $400,000 to be bailed out of jail - much of which will now fund his defense - but was taken into custody after his conviction.

Grace plans to argue for a new trial at Rudd's next court hearing July 26.

The attorney said Rudd's statements to Arlington Heights police in 2013 should not have been admissible as evidence. Segments of that statement were played in court for the jury, which asked to review them again during its deliberations.

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Hernandez openly wept in court upon hearing the verdicts of not guilty . Jurors, however, were convinced that the culprit was Hernandez, who hours after the murder was recorded on his home Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd, who moonlighted as a drug dealer, is another .

Jurors "obviously thought there were inconsistencies in what he said. But he was an elderly man being questioned about events that occurred decades before," Grace said.

The defense attorney also contends that documents pertaining to Noreen Rudd's life insurance policies, of which Donnie Rudd was the beneficiary, should not have been admissible. The insurance information was a large part of the prosecution case, which asserted Rudd killed his bride for money.

Grace argued in hearings before the trial that there was no evidence Rudd knew he would benefit from the proceeds.

George Houde is a freelance reporter.


Donnie Rudd guilty of killing wife in '73, making it look like car crash: 'It's been a 45-year nightmare' »

Donnie Rudd told police he didn't recall if he hit wife in head before she died, cop testifies »

'He married her to kill her': 45 years after bride died, husband on trial for murder »

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