Ex-Chicago lawyer accused of wife's murder unable to appear in court

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Prosecutors portrayed a former Chicago lawyer as a cold-hearted killer in court Monday.

But 73-year-old Donnie Rudd wasn't there to hear it. He was in the hospital fighting an infection that makes it difficult for to him to walk.

“Just being here is very sad, it's so sad to have to see those families,” said Rudd’s stepdaughter, Cindy Mulligan.

One of Rudd's stepdaughters is sympathizing with two families who believe that Rudd murdered their loved ones.

The former Chicago attorney turned stem-cell scientist is charged with murdering his 19-year-old bride, Noreen Kumeta, 42 years ago. He's also the prime suspect in the murder of Terri Tabak, one of his law clients, 18 years later.

Despite Rudd's absence due to illness, prosecutors laid out the details of both cases. They suggested his marriage to Noreen Kumeta was merely part of his plot to kill her and collect over $100,000 in life insurance.

“In 2013 when he was interviewed by police, the defendant told police that he slept with his girlfriend, the night before he married Noreen,” said assistant state’s attorney Maria McCarthy.

Prosecutors say 27 days after the marriage, Rudd staged a car accident. He claimed his Noreen was thrown from the car and killed. Police say when they arrived, he was in the front seat cradling her head in his lap.

“The defendant pointed out a large rock to police that appeared to have blood and hair on it. and he said, this must have been the rock that her head hit when she was thrown from the car,” McCarthy said.

“I just don’t' think they got it on this one,” said Rudd’s attorney, Timothy Grace.

Grace says a coroner's inquest concluded Noreen's death was an accident. Prosecutors say a recent autopsy proves otherwise.

Grace also says that Rudd taking out a maximum life insurance policy on his new bride proves nothing.

“I think that what you do when you get married, is one of the first things you do is you make sure you get your affairs in order,” Grace said.

Judge Joseph Cataldo ordered Rudd held without bail on Monday. He is due back in court in Rolling Meadows on Christmas Eve.

Rudd’s stepdaughter also said she was sad that it's taken so long to hold him accountable for his actions.

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