Sentencing/Post Conviction

Judge says ex-lawyer lived a 'diabolical secret life' and sentences him in wife's 1973 murder

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An Illinois judge wasn’t swayed during a sentencing hearing Thursday when former lawyer Donnie Rudd denied involvement in his wife’s 1973 murder.

Judge Marc Martin of Cook County sentenced Rudd to 75 to 150 years in prison, report the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald. He was sentenced under 1973 guidelines that make Rudd, 76, eligible for parole in 11 years.

Martin said Rudd “was living a diabolical secret life and preyed upon a young woman, Noreen Kumeta. The crime is egregious because Noreen loved and trusted Mr. Rudd.”

Rudd had claimed that his wife died in a car accident; prosecutors said the crash was staged to support Rudd’s life with another woman. Rudd collected $120,000 from life insurance policies after his wife’s death.

Rudd was disbarred by consent in 1994. The statement of charges had accused Rudd of misrepresenting the status and success of court cases to clients, failed to explain a bad settlement deal to a client, and had asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in a 1991 unsolved slaying of a client who threatened to report him to ethics regulators. Rudd was never charged in that case, and he denied any involvement on Thursday.

Rudd has declined treatment for stage 2 colon cancer. Cook County prosecutor Maria McCarthy said after the sentencing that Rudd won’t be getting out of prison during his life.

“I hope every killer who’s out there and has yet to be caught looks at this case and knows they can never stop looking over their shoulder and waiting for that knock on the door,” she said.

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