Grant Township man pleads not guilty to strangling his wife

  • James Ruman, 52, of Grant Township

    James Ruman, 52, of Grant Township

Updated 2/14/2019 12:31 PM

A Round Lake-area man accused of strangling his wife during an argument pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in Lake County court Thursday.

James Ruman, 52, of the 34100 block of North Broomsedge Road in Grant Township, faces 20 years to 60 years in prison if found guilty when the case goes to trial June 24.


He remains held in Lake County jail on $3 million bail.

Ruman showed no emotion when he appeared in court handcuffed and spoke only to quietly answer "yes" when asked specific questions from Judge Daniel Shanes during the arraignment hearing.

Shanes said Ruman is accused of strangling his wife, Despina, 47, at some point between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31.

Authorities said James Ruman called 911 about 3:30 a.m. Dec. 31 to report his wife of 18 years was unresponsive, authorities said. Investigators determined later she had died at least 24 hours before the 911 call.

Authorities said Ruman was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies based on what they saw at the scene and his initial statements to police.

Investigators later determined Ruman became "engaged in an argument over infidelity in the marriage" at some point Dec. 30, Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said.

An autopsy showed Despina died of multiple injuries she received during an assault, officials from the Lake County coroner's office said.

According to Lake County court records, Ruman was charged in January 2008 with two counts of domestic battery. He later pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to two years' probation.

Despina Ruman was also charged with battery in connection with the same incident, but the charge was later dropped, records show.

James Ruman is due back in court March 28 for a case management hearing.

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