AP Photo/Denis Poroy; AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Prosecutors argued she killed her husband to stop him from telling her bosses about the affair and that she had been stealing meth from the county drug lab. Then, they further alleged, she sprinkled rose petals on the bed where her husband’s body was because she was inspired by the film American Beauty, and the fantasy sequence featuring a shower of rose petals on a bed.
Dubbed the “Vegas Black Widow, Margaret Rudin (right) was convicted in 2001 of the 1994 murder of her real estate mogul husband Ronald Rudin. She initially fled Vegas in the wake of her murder indictment; authorities arrested her in Massachusetts in 1999.
The charred remains of Ron Rudin—Margaret’s fifth husband, and she was his fifth wife—were found along with a burnt-out trunk near Lake Mojave. He had been shot four times in the head, and police later found blood spatter in the couple’s bedroom. Margaret’s defense argued that Ron must have been killed in connection with some illegal activity he was involved in.
She was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. She appealed her conviction and in 2008 was granted a new trial. The decision was overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2010. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in 2014 that she shouldn’t get a new trial, then reversed its opinion in 2015.
Rudin was paroled on Jan. 10, 2020. She planned to move to Chicago to be with family, she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and she still hoped to clear her name.
“I want to be free to travel if I choose to on a passport,” Rudin said. “I want to be able to vote. I want to be able to do all the things I was able to do before Ron was murdered. And I did not do it.”