Trial of Donnie Rudd, ex-attorney accused of murdering wife in 1973, begins

Monday, June 25, 2018
Trial of man accused of murdering wife in 1973 begins
EMBED <>More Videos

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former lawyer charged with beating his wife to death back in 1973.

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (WLS) -- Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former lawyer charged with beating his wife to death back in 1973 and then making it look like a car accident.

It's a story the I-Team has covered over the years.

Donnie Rudd, a former attorney turned medical scientist, was arrested in connection with the 1973 murder of his 19-year-old wife Noreen Kumeta when the couple lived in Barrington Hills.

Now 76, Rudd uses a wheelchair to maneuver around. The former Schaumburg School Board President and attorney says he has colorectal cancer and is in pain. If convicted of the murder of Kumeta, Rudd faces a minimum of 14 years in prison.

Prosecutors allege he killed Kumeta less than a month after their wedding in 1973 for her life insurance money: $120,000.

"There's just a lot of things that never added up or made sense," said Glory Hart, Rudd's former stepdaughter.

Soon after Kumeta's death, Rudd married Glory Hart's mother, Dianne Hart. Her two sisters have written a book about Rudd titled "Living with the Devil."

Rudd claims Kumeta's death was an accident. Their car crashed on Route 68 in Barrington Hills just 27 days after they were married. But prosecutors have said they believe he killed her first and staged the accident.

Authorities exhumed her body in 2013 and reclassified her death as a homicide.

Outside the courtroom on Monday, Rudd said: "I'm not worried. I'm innocent. We have a lot of evidence to prove it."

But prosecutors say Rudd is also the prime suspect in another murder 16 years later of another woman, a former client named Lauretta Terry Tabac-Bodke. He has not been charged in that case.

Glory Hart's mother died years ago of breast cancer. She said Rudd never contacted them afterward, but they've always had questions.

"Still had a lot of memories, questions, suspicious things that we observed over the years. We want answers to those questions," Hart said.

Rudd has been out on bond since his arrest. He was being held on a $4 million bond and managed to post the money to get out in 2016.