Police: Man strangled wife during argument

A Round Lake-area man faces a first-degree murder charge alleging he strangled his wife in their home during an argument, authorities said Wednesday.

James A. Ruman, 52, of the 34100 block of North Broomsedge Road in Grant Township, was charged after an extensive investigation into the suspicious death of his wife, Despina, 47, Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Chris Covelli said.

Covelli said James Ruman called 911 about 3:30 a.m. Monday to report his wife of 18 years was unresponsive. Investigators later determined she died “at least 24 hours before” James Ruman called 911.

“He was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies who initially responded to the scene, based on what they saw at the scene and his initial statements to police,” Covelli said.

The investigation determined the Rumans became “engaged in an argument over infidelity in the marriage” at some point on Sunday, Covelli said.

James Ruman was due to appear in bond court later Wednesday.

Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper said preliminary autopsy results show Despina Ruman died of multiple injuries she received in an assault. Cooper said the death remains under investigation and that toxicology results are pending.

Authorities said the case is an isolated incident with no risk to the community at large.

According to Lake County court records, James Ruman was charged in January 2008 with two counts of domestic battery stemming from a Dec. 28, 2007, incident.

He pleaded guilty in May 2008 to a single count of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to two years' probation, had to pay $1,147 in fines, fees and court costs, and was ordered to undergo counseling.

Despina Ruman also was charged with battery in connection with a Dec. 28, 2007, incident, but the charge was dropped about three weeks later, records show.

  Lake County sheriff's investigators responded Monday to a Round Lake-area home where 47-year-old Despina Ruman was found dead. Her husband, James Ruman, was charged Wednesday with her killing. Steve Lundy/
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