Ron Rudin was brutally murdered and his body was not found until years later when a fisherman stumbled across his charred remains. His wife, Margaret Rudin, was convicted of murder and served 20 years in prison. She became known as the “Black Widow.” His full name was Ronald Julian Rudin.
The couple had been married for seven years when Ron Rudin was shot in the back of the head with his own gun. Both Margaret and Ron had been married four times before their wedding. 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.
Margaret Rudin, now 77, maintains her innocence. 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:
A Fisherman Stumbled Across Ron Rudin’s Charred Bones Along the Colorado River & An Autopsy & Investigation Determined He Was Shot With His Own Gun & Decapitated
Anyone following this case? Las Vegas 'black widow' Margaret Rudin still denies murdering husband https://t.co/PEs5ZeyUET
— Kathryn Casey (@KathrynCasey) February 19, 2021
Ron Rudin’s body was found about 45 miles from Las Vegas, near the shoreline of a Colorado River Reservoir. Fisherman stumbled upon his remains, which included a skull and some charred bones. A decorative bracelet, which said “RON” in jewels, was also found in the area.
Prosecutors said at the “Black Widow” trial Rudin was shot in the head as he slept. They said his body was taken away in a truck, burned and dumped in the desert, according to the Associated Press.
Police determined Rudin was shot multiple times with a .22-caliber gun with a silencer. It was Ron’s own gun that was used to kill him. He had reported the gun missing just one year after he and Margaret were married. In addition to burning the body, Las Vegas Police and an autopsy determined he had been decapitated, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Police believe Rudin was after her husband’s property, which had an estimated $11 million worth. Police alleged Rudin shot her husband in their bed. They believe she had an accomplice, who was never identified. That person, they believe, helped her put the body into an antique humpback trunk and discard the body in the desert. The remains were found in 1995 at Nelson’s Landing near Lake Mojave and the Colorado River.
Margaret Rudin Went On the Run When the Murder Weapon Was Found in 1996 & Evaded Capture for Four Years
In her first TV interview after her prison release, Margaret Rudin maintains she did not kill her husband Ron Rudin and says she “waited a long time” for the “truth to come out.” | Watch #ABC2020 tonight at 9/8c on @ABC or stream this weekend on Hulu. https://t.co/ZGewRPfd2o pic.twitter.com/qJ6mo79pXk
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) February 19, 2021
Ron Rudin was murdered December 18, 1994 when he was 64 years old. He was buried at Saint Paul Lutheran Cemetery in Dieterich, Illinois, according to Find a Grave.
A diver found the weapon used in Ron Rudin’s murder at the bottom of Lake Mead in 1996. That sent Margaret Rudin on the run, several weeks before she was indicted on murder charges in 1997. She was arrested in Massachusetts in 1999.
Ron Rudin was a millionaire who earned his wealth as a prominent real estate developer in Las Vegas. Margaret Rudin was an antique shop owner and a socialite. She was arrested in Revere, Massachusetts after a tip was called in following a “most wanted” TV show. She had been living there for a year with a retired firefighter who she met among a group of retirees in Mexico.
“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.