Criminal Justice

Former Chicago lawyer charged with murdering his wife in 1973

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A former Illinois lawyer was arrested at his home in Sugar Land, Texas, on Thursday and charged with murdering his wife in suburban Chicago in 1973.

Police in Sugar Land said Donnie Rudd, 73, waived extradition and should soon be back in Illinois to face prosecution in the Cook County case, reports CBS Chicago.

The couple had only been married 28 days when Noreen Kumeta Rudd, 19, suffered a fractured spine and other injuries. Her death was originally attributed by a coroner to a single-car accident in the Chicago suburb of Barrington Hills, in which she was thrown from the vehicle. However, her body was exhumed in 2013 and an autopsy then determined her death to be a homicide, according to WGN.

It isn’t clear from news reports what led authorities to exhume the body. The station says Rudd took out a $100,000 life insurance policy on his wife not long before she died and there have been suspicions about her death for decades.

Police said Rudd is also a suspect in the 1991 death of a client, but has not been charged in that death. Fox 32 News reports that Terri Tabak had threatened to make a complaint against Rudd about his legal tactics before someone shot her in the face at her home in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.

“Thank you for looking into this cold case,” Rudd told Fox 32 three years ago, when he was asked about Tabak’s death. “However, since I had nothing to do with this lady’s death, I have nothing to contribute.”

Arlington Heights police arrested Rudd in Texas on Thursday morning, with the help of police in Sugar Land. Police in Barrington Hills and the cold case unit of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office also helped develop the murder case against Rudd, the Fox article says.

The state’s attorney’s office confirmed that Rudd is a suspect in Tabak’s death, WLS reports.

Held on $1 million bail, Rudd waived extradition in a Fort Bend County court hearing on Thursday.

News articles about the case do not include any current comment from Rudd or his legal counsel.

Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission records say he was disbarred by consent in 1994.

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