05/28/2024

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In this Nov. 8, 1999 file photo, Margaret Rudin is escorted by police into Framingham District Court in Framingham, Mass., before her arraignment on charges in connection with the shooting death of her husband. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File; Inset photo is provided by the Nevada Department of Corrections via AP)

‘Black Widow of Las Vegas’ files wrongful conviction lawsuit after spending more than 2 decades in prison for her husband’s murder

In this Nov. 8, 1999 file photo, Margaret Rudin is escorted by police into Framingham District Court in Framingham, Mass., before her arraignment on charges in connection with the shooting death of her husband. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File; Inset photo is provided by the Nevada Department of Corrections via AP)

A woman the media dubbed the “Black Widow of Las Vegas,” whose conviction was vacated in the shooting death of her millionaire real estate developer husband, has filed a wrongful conviction claim.

Margaret Mason Rudin filed the claim against the state of Nevada over her wrongful conviction for the murder of Ron Rudin, 64, in December 1994.

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    “Today in her early 80s, Margaret Rudin intends to prove, under a Nevada statute amended in 2019 to address the rights of persons wrongfully convicted, that she was not involved either directly or indirectly in her husband’s death and did not commit the crime,” said her lawyer, Adam J. Breeden of Breeden & Associates, PLLC, in a statement.

    Media representatives from the office of the Nevada Attorney General declined to comment.

    The lawsuit, which seeks a certificate of innocence, statutory damages, and attorney’s fees, spells out the twists and turns of that long-ago mystery.

    Ron Rudin had many enemies and connections with organized crime figures when he disappeared on Dec. 18, 1994, after speaking to someone who called his home at 8 p.m., court documents said. The mystery deepened days later when authorities found his abandoned dust-covered Cadillac at the now defunct mob-connected strip club Crazy Horse Too.

    Then, about a month later, some of his remains were found badly burned in an antique trunk 50 miles southeast of Las Vegas at Nelson’s Landing, near Lake Mojave. Most of his remains were missing, but authorities found his skull shot several times. The murder weapon was eventually found in the area of Lake Mead.

    Court documents said Ron Rudin had a list of enemies, a complicated personal life, an affair with a married woman, dubious business dealings, and ties to criminal elements. He even thought people were out to get him.

    He had installed security glass at his home and office, wore a bulletproof vest, and carried a gun, even in church, court documents said.

    In a 2022 interview with Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, Margaret Rudin said her husband owned hundreds of guns, was paranoid and had affairs.

    “He had always cheated, and every time he would say, ‘I’m not going to do it again, I’m not going to do it again,’” Rudin told the station.

    She was arrested years after the murder — with investigators theorizing she shot him while he slept for his money and dumped his body, court documents said. She was convicted on May 2, 2001, and sentenced to life.

    No evidence tied her to the crime and she had long maintained her innocence, court documents said. She fought for her freedom for years, saying her wrongful conviction was based on “flimsy evidence, overzealous and inexperienced detectives.”

    Even the presiding judge later called her trial a circus, with a media frenzy that dubbed her the “Black Widow of Las Vegas.”

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    Then, on May 15, 2022, Margaret Rudin won a major victory. A federal judge found she had not received a fair trial, had received ineffective legal counsel and overturned her conviction. Based on the ruling, prosecutors opted not to seek to retry her.

    She was released after having spent 22 years and 5 months in prison.

    “I’m very, very grateful to God,” Rudin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2022. “I will be 79 years old at the end of this month so I am very, very grateful.”

     

     

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