Notorious Las Vegas ‘Black Widow’ who spent 19 years in jail for killing millionaire husband for his money has murder conviction vacated because she had useless defense attorney
A notorious Las Vegas ‘Black Widow’ had a conviction for murdering her millionaire husband overturned because her defense attorney did such a bad job in court.
Margaret Rudin’s 2001 conviction for the 1994 murder of real estate developer husband Ron Rudin, 78, was tossed by a judge in Nevada Sunday.
The 78 year-old spent close to 20 years behind bars, and was freed in 2020, before the conviction was finally quashed at the weekend.
‘I’m very, very grateful to God,’ Rudin Told the Las Vegas Review Journal on Monday, ‘I will be 79 years old at the end of this month so I am very, very grateful.’
Rudin’s conviction was tossed out on Sunday over the botched and incompetent defense her former attorney, Michael Amador, provided during the trial in 2001.
Amador’s antics during Rudin’s trial became as notorious as his client. He negotiated media rights to the case-story and reportedly attempted to write a book about the case while defending Rudin, was accused of leaking information to tabloids, failed to interview or prepare witnesses before the trial, and delivered a woefully unprepared performance in court.
‘Even putting the allegations of a serious conflict of interest by Amador to the side, Rudin clearly was denied effective assistance of counsel due to the extreme lack of trial preparation by Amador and his ensuing self-absorbed, ill-prepared, and incompetent representation at trial,’ U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware wrote in the ruling to throw out Rudin’s conviction.
Rudin was convicted in 2001 for the 1994 murder of her 78-year-old husband Ron Rudin, a real estate developer worth at least $8million at the time of his death. Ron was found shot in the head in the couple’s bed, amidst preparations to divorce Margaret.
His corpse was locked in a trunk, burned and dumped in the Mohave Desert.
Margaret Rudin, 78, the notorious Las Vegas murder suspect dubbed ‘the Black Widow,’ had her murder conviction vacated Sunday after serving 19 years of a life sentence
Rudin was first indicted for the murder of her husband in 1997 after police interviewed a handyman who said she hired him to clean up the a bloodied mattress and carpet in Rudin’s home.
Margaret’s husband had gone missing in December of 1994 while he was making preparations to divorce her, and a month later his burned remains were found in the desert in an antique trunk that was proved to have been purchased by Margaret.
Police searched the Rudin home and found evidence of blood spatter in the couple’s bedroom, and it was determined Ron had been shot in the head at least four times by his own gun.
Rudin fled Nevada following her indictment, hiding out in Revere, Massachusetts, until she was apprehended in 1999.
Margaret Rudin and her Husband Ron Rudin in a photo from before his murder. Ron was preparing to divorce his wife when he went missing in 1994
Margaret and Ron Rudin before Ron’s murder. Ron was a real estate developer worth at least $8million at the time of his death. His burned remains were found to have been shot 4 times
Prosecutors argued that Rudin had murdered her husband before he could divorce her to keep his multimillion-dollar assets. She was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years in 2001.
She was released on parole in 2020 after serving nearly 20 years, while insisting that she was innocent.
‘I want to be free to travel if I choose to on a passport,’ Rudin said when she was released from prison, ‘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.’
A federal judge granted Rudin a writ of habeas corpus on Sunday – vacating the murder conviction – on the grounds that her 2001 defense attorney, Michael Amador, had provided ineffective assistance during her trial.
Ron’s charred remains were found in the Nevada desert inside the burned remnants of an antique trunk (above). The trunk was proven to have been purchased by Margaret
Margaret Rudin and her defense attorney, Michael Amador (left), during her 2001 trial. Rudin’s conviction was thrown out over the inadequate defense provided by Amador in 2001
Defense attorney Michael Amador (left) gave a famously poor performance in court during Rudin’s 2001 trial. He was said to have been negotiating media deals for the trial-story during it
The famously incompetent Michael Amador
Clark County must now decide whether to appeal the ruling or retry Rudin for murder.
‘It’s been a long journey and I’m very happy the court made the decision they did because I think it was the proper decision,’ Rudin’s new attorney, Greg Mullanax said, ‘It is unfortunate it came out after she’s served her sentence in prison because this has been bouncing around the courts ever since 2001. It is still what we were seeking: a new trial and vacating of the conviction, and that’s what we got. I’m happy a court finally looked at this and saw what happened.
‘The trial was a travesty,’ he added
Rudin was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years. She was released on parole after serving nearly 20 years in 2020. Above, Rudin at the time of her parole