Woman charged with killing millionaire husband caught in Massachusetts

REVERE, Mass. - A helpful mailman and a pizza delivery person's uniform helped police nab a Las Vegas woman accused of killing her millionaire husband almost five years ago, authorities said Monday.

Margaret Rudin, 56, was captured here Friday night when police stormed into the walkup apartment she shared with a retired firefighter in a triple-decker house.

An officer disguised himself as a Domino's pizza delivery man to enable authorities to get into the second-floor apartment peacefully.

''We just used that for something to open the door,'' said Sgt. Mark Lynch of the state police fugitive recovery squad, adding that Rudin's roommate was known to have a handgun permit. ''Domino's graciously agreed to give us a shirt and a placard for a vehicle, as well as a box.''

Rudin is accused of killing her husband, realtor Ron Rudin, by shooting him several times in the head as he lay in bed Dec. 18, 1994. She reported him missing, and a month later a fisherman discovered his burned, bullet-ridden and decapitated body near Lake Mohave in southern Nevada.

Investigators initially said they didn't have enough evidence to charge Rudin with the crime.

Her husband's estate brought a civil suit in 1996, seeking to prove Rudin played a role in his death. But Rudin settled for a portion of his estimated $5-$10 million estate. In April 1997 a diver found the pistol they say was used to kill Ron Rudin at the bottom of a lake. Margaret Rudin fled three weeks before her indictment later that year.

On Monday, she was ordered held without bail as a fugitive by Framingham District Court Judge Robert V. Greco. She is wanted in Nevada on charges of murder, being an accessory to murder and unlawful use of a listening device.

Her court-appointed lawyer, Randall Power, said she will fight extradition.

Investigators tracked her to Revere after Las Vegas police received a tip from a viewer of the TV show ''America's Most Wanted.'' Lynch said that after authorities located her post office box, a mailman recognized her photo and supplied an address.

They never saw her during a stakeout of the apartment, but a pizza delivery man seen leaving the building Friday night also recognized the picture. That's when authorities figured that a borrowed uniform might be enough to at least get Rudin and her roommate, Joseph Lundergan, to open their door peacefully.

''They held me at gunpoint and handcuffed her,'' said Lundergan, 61, who had been living with Rudin since late last year.

He said the two met while living in the same Guadalajara, Mexico, apartment complex and socializing in the same circle of American retirees. Lundergan said Rudin told him she was on the run from a shadowy terrorist named ''Yehuda,'' whom she said was a former Israeli secret agent working for trustees of her murdered husband's estate. The trustees needed Rudin dead to get hold of her late husband's millions, she said.

Lundergan doesn't think his roommate - he won't say if there was any romantic involvement - killed her husband.

''My feeling is that she's physically incapable of that kind of crime, and psychologically and emotionally (incapable), too,'' Lundergan said as he spoke with reporters in his kitchen. ''I believe her.''

He said at one time he suspected Rudin might be on the run from Las Vegas authorities ''but I thought it was a local thing. I never thought it was a big international incident.''

Police say Lundergan remains under investigation.

''There is no doubt that he knew she was at least a suspect,'' Lynch said.

A neighbor said Rudin - whom she knew as Leigh Simmons - always wore dark glasses and wigs, and was always friendly. But Donnamarie Mason said Rudin rarely ventured outside.

''She's wicked nice. She had coffee with me, and tea,'' Mason said. ''She made me blueberry pies.''

Lynch said Rudin often hid her blond hair beneath a dark wig. He also said she had recently been looking for work as an apprentice in a cobbler's shop.


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