Medical treatments ordered for disbarred attorney charged in 1973 murder

 
 
Updated 1/12/2016 3:07 PM
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  • Donnie Rudd, arrested on Thursday, was indicted for murder in the 1973 death of his wife. Rudd remains a suspect in the murder of an Arlington Heights woman in 1991.

    Donnie Rudd, arrested on Thursday, was indicted for murder in the 1973 death of his wife. Rudd remains a suspect in the murder of an Arlington Heights woman in 1991. Photo courtesy of Fort Bend County

A disbarred Northwest suburban attorney has been indicted on murder charges in the 1973 death of his teenage wife less than a month after their marriage.

Donnie Rudd, 73, is charged with murdering 19-year-old Noreen Kumeta Rudd, who was found lying across Rudd's lap in their car after what initially appeared to be an accident near Dundee and Bateman roads in Barrington Township on Sept. 14, 1973.

He is being held at Cook County jail on $4 million bail.

Rudd -- who was disbarred in 1994 for fraud and unlawful conduct -- claimed Noreen hit her head on a rock when she was thrown from the car after another vehicle forced them off the road. Authorities initially labeled the crash an accident. But no autopsy was performed until 2012, after authorities exhumed Noreen's body as part of a renewed investigation into a link between Rudd and an unsolved 1991 Arlington Heights killing.

In 2013, Dr. Hilary McElligott of the Kane County coroner's office ruled Noreen's death a homicide with blunt force trauma as the cause. Prosecutors say Rudd killed Noreen and staged the crash in order to collect on life insurance policies worth $120,000.

Rudd has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were announced Tuesday.

He remains a suspect in the April 4, 1991, slaying of interior designer Loretta Tabak-Bodtke, who was found shot to death in her Arlington Heights townhouse. At the time Rudd, who served as Tabak-Bodtke's lawyer in a business dispute and whose car was seen at her home the day of her killing, was a suspect in her death, but he was never charged.

Prosecutors said Rudd told Tabak-Bodtke he had settled her case for several hundred thousand dollars. After he failed to deposit those funds in her account, Tabak-Bodtke threatened to report him to Illinois' Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, where several other clients had lodged similar complaints against him, prosecutors said.

Professional problems weren't the only issues that dogged Rudd. Rudds' stepdaughter Cindy Mulligan, of Barrington, said he began an affair with her mother, Dianne Marks, a married woman, during the early 1970s when both served on the Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 school board, said

Rudd and Marks married eight months after Noreen's death, Mulligan said. At the time of Marks' death from breast cancer in 1996, Rudd was seeing another girlfriend, Mulligan said.

Rudd was extradited from his Sugar Land, Texas, home in December and hospitalized at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights for colon cancer and cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection.

In court today, defense attorney Tim Grace said that since Rudd's transfer to the Cook County Jail, employees have not complied with medically mandated treatment for the cellulitis and that without treatment Rudd could face amputation of a leg. Cook County Judge Joseph Cataldo issued an order requiring the treatments to proceed.

If convicted, Rudd faces a minimum of 14 years in prison, according to 1973 sentencing guidelines.

He next appears in court on Jan. 22 for arraignment.

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