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Murder trial for man accused of murdering wife in 1973 begins

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. —The jury has been seated in a trial that’s been 45 years in the making.

76-year-old Donnie Rudd is on trial for first-degree murder charges in the 1973 death of Noreen Kumeta Rudd.

Rudd, a disbarred attorney, is accused of beating his 19-year-old new bride to death in 1973 then staging a car accident in Barrington Hills to cover it up.

Kumeta Rudd's death was originally ruled an accident and she was buried in her wedding dress nearly a month after she wore it. It wasn’t until Arlington Heights police began looking in to the unsolved 1991 murder of Loretta Tabak, one of Rudd’s former clients, that questions began to arise about Kumeta Rudd's death.

Prosecutors said Rudd gave conflicting stories of how she died. Her body was exhumed in 2013 and forensic pathologists ruled her death a homicide when it was determined she died of several skull fractures that prosecutors said were inflicted by Rudd.

Prosecutors said the $120,000 in life insurance motivated Rudd to kill his wife.

Rudd was arrested in 2015 in Texas and charged with first degree murder. He has been free on bond since being charged.

Rudd told WGN News he’s been diagnosed with colon cancer that has spread to most of his organs. He said it’s only a matter of time before it claims his life.

Rudd said he’s not worried about the trial because he’s innocent and he has the evidence to prove it.

Rudd said he will not take the stand but said his attorney will call medical experts to counter the prosecution claim of how his former wife died.

The jury is made up of eight women and six men.

Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday. The trial is expected to wrap up Friday or Monday at the latest.