ABC’s ’20/20: Five Weddings and a Murder’ chronicles the tale of a woman who came to be known as the “Black Widow” in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the neighboring states for having been convicted of slaying her fifth husband. Margaret Rudin (née Frost) has had a long list of spouses, but it was her last marriage, with real estate magnate Ronald Rudin, that turned her world upside down. With aspects like greed, jealously, and evil doings, this case has it all. But for now, instead of the crime and its aftermath, let’s focus on Margaret’s different marriages and ex-husbands, shall we?
Who Were Margaret Rudin’s Ex-Husbands?
After changing schools across 15 states before graduating high school, Margaret met Gerald Mason, a carpenter. On February 2, 1962, when she was 18 and he was 20, they tied the knot and settled down in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois. According to reports, Gerald only made about $300 a month but was still able to provide a good life to his wife and family. In 1964, the couple welcomed their first child into this world, a son, Michael, followed by their daughter, Kristina. a few years later. However, after about a decade together, Margaret filed for divorce.
In the 1973 final filing, Margaret claimed that Gerald was emotionally abusive and reportedly demanded the couple’s 1969 Ford four-vehicle and $160 per month as child support alimony for settlement. It seems like all this was granted to her. Margaret remarried soon after, but little is known about this particular relationship. All we understand is that this union only lasted for two years – from 1974 to 1976. As per reports, even Margaret’s third husband, Philip Brown, didn’t know about her second marriage when they got together. He thought he was husband number 2.
Philip, a farmer and horse dealer, met Margaret back in 1978 when she chose to buy a horse for her son. Their romance can only be described as a whirlwind as they wed that same year, having one ceremony in Las Vegas and another in Illinois. Yet, by the next year, their relationship had crumbled apart. As per court documents, Philip cited Margaret’s emotional cruelty as the reason for their divorce and agreed to pay her a lump sum of $10,000 to avoid paying monthly alimony. In the brief time that they were together, they shared no children.
Margaret subsequently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, with her two kids, where she met Richard Krafve. Even though Richard reportedly was a struggling businessman at the time, he was still very well off as he had inherited a large amount of money from his father, a high-ranking executive officer at the Ford Motor Company. Before they married, Richard made Margaret sign a prenuptial agreement, so when they divorced in 1987, she didn’t receive anything but the $32,000 that she had apparently requested. Abuse (from Richard) was again an alleged factor in the divorce.
When both of Margaret’s children had grown up and left home, she met Ronald Rudin at the First Church of Religious Science. They tied the knot on September 11, 1987, and remained married for over seven years – until Ronald disappeared. This alliance was the fifth for each, but it became tumultuous as well. According to reports, Ronald didn’t trust his wife with finances, and Margaret was jealous of her husband and believed that he had a mistress on the side. Ronald even filed for divorce in 1988, but it wasn’t pursued as the pair seemingly overcame their problems.
In saying that, though, Margaret’s fifth marriage did end in late 1994, when Ronald vanished without a trace and was found brutally slain a month later. Despite the fact that he had financed her when she decided to open an antique store and bought her a Lincoln Continental, their stormy relationship led the police to suspect Margaret. After all, not only was Ronald last seen alive walking into her shop, but officers also discovered blood spatters in the couple’s home. Thus, Margaret was charged, arrested, tried, and convicted of her husband’s murder.
Read More: Where Is Margaret Rudin’s Daughter Now?