Two-Hour Special Premieres Sunday, March 25 at 8 PM on ID
Who is Donnie Rudd? It depends on who you ask. To some, he’s a war hero, lawyer and brilliant scientist, but to others, he’s a conman, womanizer and possibly a murderer. Investigation Discovery (ID) follows NBC’s Keith Morrison as he takes us from the small towns of Texas to the elite suburbs of Chicago to learn more about Donnie through the accounts of family members and business associates. Four decades after what some authorities believe may have been Donnie’s first murder, he’s still a free man, but Morrison rushes to get the facts just before Donnie’s June 25, 2018 Chicago area-based murder trial begins.
Considered a ladies’ man by many, Donnie had three marriages under his belt by 1974; however, his 1973 marriage of 28 days to his second wife, 19-year-old Noreen Rudd, didn’t end with a typical lovers’ quarrel, but rather a deadly car accident with Donnie as the sole survivor at the scene. Donnie collected his $100,000 in life insurance and continued his days with his previous girlfriend, Dianne Hart (who would soon become his third wife), and her four children including daughters Cindy, Glory and Lori. Following the exhumation of Noreen’s body forty years later, the three stepdaughters speak candidly with Morrison about what they say was a household of lies and a lifetime of trying to pin their stepfather down as a murderer.
In 1973, after just 28 days of marriage to Donnie Rudd, Noreen Rudd is found dead at the scene of a car crash in Barrington Hills, IL. Her husband, Donnie, claims it was a terrible accident. Donnie collects $100,000 in life insurance, and marries his former lover, Dianne Hart. The two live out a complicated relationship in a household filled with Dianne’s four children. And then, in 1991, a client of Donnie’s, Loretta Tabak-Bodtke, is found with four gunshot wounds to the head. Police take an interest in Donnie, as he was the last person to see Loretta alive. But the case goes cold for years. It isn’t until 2013 – four decades after his second wife’s death -- that Donnie’s history catches up to him when Noreen’s body is exhumed and deemed a homicide. Donnie is charged with first-degree murder. He was never charged with any other crime and maintains his innocence in both Noreen’s and Loretta’s deaths. Set with a $4 million bond, Donnie posts bail and awaits his upcoming trial for the murder of Noreen Rudd.