Margaret Rudin was paroled in 2019 after serving 20 years in prison for murder in the death of her husband, Ron Rudin. Ron Rudin was a prominent real estate developer in Las Vegas and a millionaire. He disappeared in 1994, and his charred remains were later found in the desert. Margaret Rudin was an antiques dealer and a socialite.
The couple had been married for seven years when Ron Rudin was shot in the back of the head with his own gun. Margaret went on the run when the murder weapon was found in 1996, and she was indicted in 1997. Authorities also said Margaret Rudin tapped her husband’s phone, suspecting he was having an affair.
She is now 77. Rudin spoke out in exclusive interviews featured on ABC 20/20. The new episode, “Five Weddings and a Murder,” airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time Friday, February 21, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rudin Maintains Her Innocence Decades After Her Husband’s Murder
Even after Rudin was released from prison, she continues to say authorities put the wrong person behind bars in her husband’s murder. She told ABC 20/20 she is using her earnings from sharing her story to collect tips on the real killer.
“I want to be exonerated,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She said she wants a passport, to vote and “to be able to do all the things that I was able to do before Ron was murdered.”
“I did not do it,” she added.
Rudin Became a Great-Grandmother While She Served a 20-Year Prison Sentence & Wants to Move Closer to Her Family
Rudin was on the run for years before she was finally arrested in 1999. She changed her name and her appearance, and was taken into custody in Massachusetts. Now, she wants to spend more time with family. She became a great-grandmother in prison, and told the Associated Press in 2020 she had plans to move to the Chicago area to live with her daughter, granddaughter and grandchildren. After that, she wanted to move to Nashville, Tennessee. Rudin planned to write books about her trial and her experience in prison.
Rudin tried to call a mistrial soon after her trial began. Her defense attorney offered a “rambling” opening statement that stuck in the minds of those present, according to the Associated Press. The judge denied Rudin’s request for a mistrial, but appointed two additional defense attorneys to assist. Her daughter, Kristina Mason, also spoke in her defense at her trial.
Several appeals were filed on behalf of Rudin, saying her trial was flawed and she deserved a new trial. A state court judge in 2008 agreed, but the Nevada Supreme Court overruled the decision. In 2015, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new look at Rudin’s conviction.
The Nevada Department of Corrections agreed not to oppose Rudin’s parole, which also settled federal civil rights complaints of mistreatment, misconduct and sexism in prison. Coreen Kovacs, who was a juror and became a friend of Rudin, told the Associated Press she believes Rudin was innocent.
“I have been waiting for this date as long as she has,” said when Rudin was paroled. “She forgave me long, long ago. I haven’t forgiven me.”