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Las Vegas ‘black widow’ Margaret Rudin still denies murdering husband


The notorious Las Vegas ‘black widow’ who spent 20 years in prison for murdering her millionaire husband after two years on the run still denies she had anything to do with it. 

Margaret Rudin, 77, was released from the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in Las Vegas a year ago after winning parole for her life sentence in the killing of her real estate mogul husband Ron Rudin. 

In an interview set to air on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, Rudin, who became a great-grandmother while in prison, still maintains her innocence. 

‘I did not kill Ron, no I did not,’ Rudin said. ‘What happened to Ron? We still don’t know. Twenty years later they still didn’t check on anybody but me.

‘They had no evidence, no witnesses.

‘They stuck the name ‘Black Widow’ on me like I had killed somebody before or that I was in the habit.

Margaret Rudin, 77, was released from prison in Las Vegas a year ago after being convicted of killing her real estate mogul husband Ron Rudin in 1994. In an interview set to air on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, Rudin, who became a great-grandmother while in prison, still maintains her innocence

‘I want the truth to come out. I’ve waited a long time.’ 

In the interview, Rudin also opens up on why she never took any of the multiple plea deals she received over the years. 

She details her life now – free from prison – as a great-grandmother. 

Rudin was dubbed the ‘black widow killer’ following her husband’s murder after Ron’s remains, including his skull and charred bones, were discovered by fishermen near the shoreline of a Colorado River reservoir about 45 miles from Las Vegas in 1995. 

The socialite antiques shop owner vanished before she was indicted and spent two years as a fugitive in Mexico, Arizona and Massachusetts. She used different aliases and disguises ahead of her 2001 trial. 

A tip generated by a ‘most wanted’ TV show led to Rudin’s arrest in 1999 in Revere, Massachusetts, where she had been living for a year with a retired firefighter she met among a group of American retirees in Mexico. 

Intrigue and plot twists began after her husband, a 64-year-old prominent Las Vegas real estate developer, disappeared back in the December of 1994.

Fishermen stumbled across his skull and some charred bones a month later.

Prosecutors said he had been shot in the head as he slept and that his body was hauled in a trunk to the desert and burned. 

Ron's remains, including his skull and charred bones, were discovered by fishermen near the Colorado River a month after he vanished in 1995. Prosecutors said he had been shot in the head as he slept and that his body was hauled in a trunk to the desert and burned

Ron’s remains, including his skull and charred bones, were discovered by fishermen near the Colorado River a month after he vanished in 1995. Prosecutors said he had been shot in the head as he slept and that his body was hauled in a trunk to the desert and burned

Police said he was shot several times with a .22-caliber gun with a silencer that Ron Rudin had reported missing a year after the couple wed. They had been married seven years - the fifth marriage for each

Police said he was shot several times with a .22-caliber gun with a silencer that Ron Rudin had reported missing a year after the couple wed. They had been married seven years – the fifth marriage for each

A distinctive jeweled bracelet with the name ‘Ron’ was found at the scene.

Police said he was shot several times with a .22-caliber gun with a silencer that Ron Rudin had reported missing a year after they wed.

Ron and Margaret Rudin had been married seven years – the fifth marriage for each. 

Beneficiaries revealed that Ron Rudin amended his trust in 1991 with a directive to investigate his death if it was by violent means and cutting anyone responsible out of his will.  

Rudin was convicted of first-degree murder in 2001 by a Clark County grand jury and sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole

Rudin was convicted of first-degree murder in 2001 by a Clark County grand jury and sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole

Rudin maintained she was not involved in her husband’s disappearance but it was later revealed she tried to obtain a $6million share of Ron’s $11million fortune.

She settled with trustees for about $500,000 after they sued her in 1996 in an attempt to prove her guilt in the gruesome crime.

Rudin would later become a fugitive after police said a diver uncovered the murder weapon at the bottom of Lake Mead in 1996.

She fled the area weeks before she was indicted for murder, accessory to murder and unlawful use of a listening device charges in 1997.

Prosecutors said she had tapped her husband’s phones when she suspected he was having an affair.

Rudin altered her identity, changing her name and appearance, and evaded Phoenix police in September 1998 before her arrested in November 1999. 

The drama continued to Rudin’s trial, where defense attorney Michael Amador gave such a disjointed opening argument to jurors that she asked for a mistrial.

At the time, Amador claimed that he was defending Rudin for free, but she said he tried to secure media rights to her story. 

A tip generated by a 'most wanted' TV show led to Rudin's arrest in 1999 in Revere, Massachusetts, where she had been living for a year with a retired firefighter she met among a group of American retirees in Mexico

Rudin, pictured above during her trial, was released from the Florence McClure Women's Correctional Center in Las Vegas a year ago

Rudin, pictured above during her trial, was released from the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in Las Vegas a year ago

She fled the area weeks before she was indicted for murder, accessory to murder and unlawful use of a listening device charges in 1997. Prosecutors said she had tapped her husband's phones when she suspected he was having an affair

She fled the area weeks before she was indicted for murder, accessory to murder and unlawful use of a listening device charges in 1997. Prosecutors said she had tapped her husband’s phones when she suspected he was having an affair

Amador’s secretary would testify that she saw book deal and movie rights contracts.

Rudin was convicted of first-degree murder in 2001 by a Clark County grand jury and sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole.  

Several lawyers argued on appeals that the trial was so flawed that Rudin deserved a retrial. 

A state court judge in 2008 agreed, but the Nevada Supreme Court overruled that decision. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015 ordered a new look at Rudin’s conviction.

The Nevada Department of Corrections agreed not to oppose Rudin’s parole to settle her federal court civil rights complaints of mistreatment, misconduct and sexism in prison programs for aging inmates.

Her lawyer, Greg Mullanax, is still pushing for a retrial to clear her of the conviction so she can avoid being on parole for the rest of her life. 

In her first interview since leaving prison, Rudin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she had planned to move to the Chicago area to live with her daughter, granddaughter and great-grandchildren. 

‘I’m going to write books,’ she said, about her trial and what she endured each year she spent in prison.

She said she blamed Las Vegas police for her arrest, prosecution and conviction, and said her Christian faith helped her overcome doubt and anger in prison.

‘Most of the time it was, ‘I’m going to get out of this. I’m going to get through this. I’m going to be proven innocent,’ she said.

20/20 airs Fridays from 9:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET on ABC. 



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