Former Lawyer Charged With Killing His Wife More Than 40 Years Ago

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Donnie RuddDonnie Rudd

A former Chicago attorney has been charged with the murder of his wife more than 40 years ago.

Donnie Rudd, 73, married Noreen Kumeta Rudd, then 19, in 1973. Less than one month later, Noreen died in a car crash and Donnie claimed the $100,000 life insurance policy he had taken out on her before her death.

Noreen’s spine was fractured in the single-car accident and she suffered trauma after being thrown from the car.

Donnie was not injured in the crash, and Noreen’s death was ruled accidental.

"His story was that they were driving, that another car hit them, they went off the side of the road," Emma Leising, Donnie’s sixth wife, told KHOU. "When he tried to get her out, she was dead."

Suspicion over Noreen’s death plagued the case for years, and in 2013, her body was exhumed from a cemetery in Dundee, Illinois.

It was later ruled by a medical examiner that she was the victim of homicide.

Donnie was arrested on Dec. 17 in Sugar Land, Texas, for the murder of Noreen in 1973, a source told WGN-TV.

Donnie lost his license to practice law in Illinois due to fraud allegations and has been working as a scientist in Texas. 

Before the charge against him in Noreen’s death, Donnie was a suspect in the 1991 death of one of his clients, Loretta “Teri” Tabak. However, he has not been charged in Tabak's case.

Leising said she did not know Donnie had been charged with Noreen’s murder until she was informed through KHOU. She said she hopes he gets what he deserves.

"Kind of stunned, but I was really hoping that he would have to pay for what he’s done to everybody," Leising told KHOU. "So relieved I think too, that he’s no longer out there."

Sources: KHOU, WGN-TV / Photo credit: KHOU