Kristin Rossum (left), a former toxicologist in the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, is serving life in prison for the 2000 murder of her husband, Greg de Villers, with a deadly dose of fentanyl. She first reported to police that Greg had committed suicide, but his family, particularly his brother Jerome, insisted that his death be investigated. Detectives discovered that Rossum had resumed a former methamphetamine habit and was having an affair with a colleague before killing de Villers.
Prosecutors argued she killed her husband to keep him from telling her boss 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 of seven years, Ronald Rudin—it took a few years to track her down after she fled Vegas in the wake of her murder indictment. Authorities found her in Massachusetts in 1999.
Ron Rudin—Margaret’s fifth husband, and she was his fifth wife—was last seen walking into Margaret’s antique shop on Dec. 18, 1994. His charred, dismembered remains were found along with a burnt-out steamer trunk near Lake Mojave. He had been shot four times in the head, and police later found blood spatter in the couple’s home bedroom. At trial, 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 immediately appealed her conviction, aruging ineffective counsel, and in 2008 was granted a new trial—a decision that was reversed in 2010. Her appeal continued to bounce around and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals actually reversed its own opinion at one point, overriding its 2014 determination that she shouldn’t have a new trial with a 2015 opinion that she should. The state of Nevada took it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2016 denied the state’s petition to overrule the Ninth Circuit.
After still just the one trial, Rudin was paroled on Jan. 10, 2020. She planned to move to Chicago to be with her daughter and grandchildren, 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
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