CHICAGO (CBS) — The man accused of killing his wife 45 years ago in Chicago’s northwest suburbs was found guilty Monday.
Opening statements began last Tuesday.
Donnie Rudd, 76, was accused of beating his 19-year-old wife to death and staging her death to look like a car accident in Barrington, Illinois.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office says he will face a minimum sentence of 14 years in prison. The sentencing date has not been set at this time.
Emergency crews responded to a car crash near Route 62 and Bateman Road in Barrington in 1973. Prosecutors said Donnie Rudd was sitting in the front passenger seat of a Pinto Wagon in a grassy area southwest of the intersection with Noreen Kumeta-Rudd’s head on his lap, her feet lying across the driver’s side. The crash happened 27 days after Donnie married Noreen.
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.
According to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, in 2015, Rudd was arrested in Sugarland, Texas for the cold case murder of Noreen Rudd on September 14, 1973.
Prosecutors say he was motivated to kill her because of her insurance policy worth $120,000.