Crime & Courts

Man charged with strangling wife in Lake County home

James A. Ruman, 52, of the 34100 block of North Broomsedge Road, Round Lake
James A. Ruman, 52, of the 34100 block of North Broomsedge Road, Round Lake

A 52-year-old man was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday after police said he strangled his wife in the couple's Round Lake home before calling an ambulance for her hours later.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies identified "suspicious" injuries to 47-year-old Despina Ruman's body when they found her dead Monday inside her home in the 34100 block of North Broomsedge Road, Round Lake, according to a news release.

On Wednesday, police arrested Ruman's husband, 52-year-old James A. Ruman, on suspicion of first-degree murder, saying that he strangled his wife, according to the release.

He remained at the Lake County Jail in Waukegan on Wednesday evening. His bond is set at $3 million, meaning he would need to post $300,000 bail to be released.

James Ruman called 911 to report that his wife needed an ambulance at 3:25 a.m. Monday, according to the release. He did not tell the 911 dispatcher that he killed his wife or that she was dead, Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said.

"​The investigation shows they were likely engaged in an argument about infidelities in the relationship," Covelli said.

Police found James Ruman with self-inflicted wounds caused by a sharp object, Covelli said. He has been in police custody since Monday, when investigators identified him as a person of interest, according to the release.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, James Ruman's attorney, Joseph Zeit, declined to comment on the charges.

It is unclear how long Despina Ruman had been dead inside the home before police arrived, but investigators estimate that James Ruman waited several hours to more than a day to call 911, Covelli said.

​"Ruman waited a significant amount of time before contacting authorities," the release stated.

James Ruman's actions after the incident remain under investigation.

The Rumans were known to police, who previously responded on several occasions to domestic situations at the couple's home. The pair had been married for 18 years, Covelli said.

James Ruman's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 9.

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