CHICAGO (CBS) — Opening statements began Tuesday for a man accused of killing his wife 45 years ago in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.
Donnie Rudd, 76, is accused of beating his 19-year-old wife to death before staging her death to look like a car accident in Barrington, Illinois.
Just 27 days after their marriage in 1973, emergency crews responded to a car crash near Route 62 and Bateman Road in Barrington, where Donnie Rudd was in the front passenger seat of his Pinto Wagon in a grassy area southwest of the intersection, with Noreen Rudd’s head on his lap with her feet lying across the driver’s side, prosecutors said.
An autopsy was never performed on the woman, but a coroner’s inquest ruled her death an accident.
The case was closed until 2012, when Rudd was questioned as a suspect in the unsolved 1991 murder of Arlington Heights resident Lauretta Tabek-Bodke, who was fatally shot inside her kitchen. While discussing the 1973 case, he first said Noreen Rudd died inside the vehicle, but later claimed he didn’t know whether or not she left the car, prosecutors said.
Her body was exhumed and an autopsy reclassified her death a homicide by blunt force trauma, with fractures and lacerations across her head and skull.
Prosecutors say he was motivated to kill her because of her insurance policy worth $120,000.
The trial for Donnie Rudd is expected to wrap up by the end of the week.