DUNDEE, Ill. (WLS) — Donnie Rudd has been called “pure evil.” He literally got away with murder for nearly half a century.
He was finally convicted and sent to prison, but he died last week after serving just four years.
Karen Mezera regularly visits her sister’s graveside in Dundee. Noreen Kumeta has been gone for 49 years, killed in 1973 by her husband of less than a month, Rudd, who collected on her life insurance. Rudd got away with the crime for 45 years before the law finally caught up to him, sending him to prison about four years ago.
“He betrayed me,” Mezera said. “I had nothing but sisterly love for him and he betrayed me.”
READ MORE | Donnie Rudd found guilty of 1973 murder of wife
Rudd was 31 when he killed his new 19-year-old wife and then staged a car crash in Barrington Hills to cover it up. He then collected on her life insurance policy. In 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to more than 75 years in prison. But he served just four years before his death last week on the exact date, 49 years after the murder.
“There was no good in him,” said Cindy Mulligan, Rudd’s stepdaughter. “Just evil.”
Mulligan’s mother Dianne Marks was married to Rudd after Kumeta’s death, but they always suspected he was evil. She and her sister wrote a book about Rudd titled, “Living with the Devil.”
By day he was an attorney and president of the local school board, but authorities suspect he might have been responsible for several other unsolved murders. Police have investigated him for the death of Loretta Tabak-Bodtke, a client of his who was killed in her Arlington Heights home in 1991.
“I presented evidence that he killed his father,” former prosecutor Maria McCarthy said.
McCarthy calls Rudd the most dangerous murderer she ran across in her 25-year career.
“He was a true sociopath, a narcissist who views people as objects to be used for his own benefit,” McCarthy said. “He was the type who would kill me or his attorney without a second thought.”
Rudd had Noreen Kumeta’s family fooled into believing her death was an accident for decades until the Loretta Tabak Bodtke’s daughter prompted police to investigate Donnie Rudd. Kumeta’s family is grateful that Rudd finally came to justice.
“Now I can have peace,” Mezera said. “Finally it’s over.”
McCarthy said while it is very likely Rudd committed other murders, it is not likely he would have been charged with the crimes at this point. The department of corrections has not released a cause of death.
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