Disbarred lawyer wants statements suppressed in 1973 Barrington Township murder case

  • Donnie Rudd

    Donnie Rudd

 
 
Updated 11/10/2016 7:54 PM

A disbarred lawyer charged with the 1973 death of his wife in Barrington Township will ask a court to suppress statements he made to police.

Donnie Rudd, charged with murdering his 19-year-old wife Noreen Kumeta Rudd, claims authorities violated his constitutional rights by questioning him without his lawyer present.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Rudd, 74, was arrested at his Texas home in December on charges he killed his wife and staged a car crash near Dundee and Bateman roads in Barrington Township on Sept. 14, 1973, to cover up the murder. Authorities say $120,000 in life insurance motivated the murder, which occurred about a month after the couple married. Police originally classified it as an accident.

No autopsy was performed until 2013, when a Kane County coroner ruled her death a homicide, with blunt force trauma as the cause of death.

"I'm going to argue that my client had a right to counsel. To question him without counsel violates his 6th amendment rights," said defense attorney Timothy Grace.

Sixth amendment protections include a speedy and public trial and the assistance of counsel. Once the state has committed to prosecuting a defendant and the case has reached a "critical phase," prosecutors cannot talk to a defendant without his or her lawyer present.

Kumeta Rudd's body was exhumed as part of a renewed investigation into an unsolved 1991 Arlington Heights murder in which police suspected Rudd. Prosecutors say Rudd represented interior designer Loretta Tabak-Bodtke in a business dispute. They say Rudd told Tabak-Bodtke he settled her case for several hundred thousand dollars but never deposited the funds in her account. According to prosecutors, Tabak-Bodtke threatened to report Rudd to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which they say had already received similar complaints against him. Commission records show Rudd was disbarred in 1994 for engaging in unlawful and fraudulent conduct. Rudd has not been charged in Tabak-Bodtke's shooting death.

Rudd pleaded not guilty to Noreen Kumeta Rudd's murder. He is currently free on $4 million bail, which required he post $400,000.

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