Grant Township man pleads guilty to murder for strangling wife
A Round Lake-area man accused of strangling his wife during an argument pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Lake County court Tuesday.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, James Ruman, 54, of the 34100 block of North Broomsedge Road in Grant Township, will serve 24 years in prison followed by three years of parole. He will receive credit for the just under 14 months he's served at the Lake County jail while awaiting trial.
Had the case gone to trial and Ruman was convicted, he would have faced 20 to 60 years in prison.
Ruman showed no emotion when he appeared in court handcuffed and spoke only to quietly respond to questions from Judge Daniel Shanes during the hearing.
Authorities said last January that James Ruman called 911 about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2018, to report his wife of 18 years was unresponsive, authorities said. Investigators determined later that Despina Ruman, 47, had died at least 24 hours before the 911 call.
Authorities said James 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 on Dec. 30, Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said last year.
An autopsy showed Despina died of multiple injuries she received during an assault, according to the Lake County coroner's office.
Assistant State's Attorney Ken LaRue said during the hearing Tuesday that a member of Despina Ruman's family was in court but did not wish to give a victim's impact statement.
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 that case, but the charge was later dropped, records show.