An Iowa man who had just killed his wife by shooting her four times in the head, and twice in the chest blamed the murder on the seven deadly sins, police say.
Soon after Harold Dudley was arrested for the murder of Mary Dudley he mentioned the 1995 crime thriller “Seven,” starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, and said the “seven deadly sins got to him,” police officer Ryan Hauge testified, according to the Des Moines Register.
Dudley is charged with first degree murder and burglary for allegedly breaking down his estranged wife’s door on June 3, 2017 then killing her with six shots from a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Dudley, 51, faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
He has previously been convicted of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon and sexual abuse in the third degree, according to the first degree murder complaint against him, obtained by Oxygen.com. Dudley is a registered sex offender, with 10 known aliases, according to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.
His trial started Tuesday. The prosecution opened with video from a surveillance camera, that captured Dudley laying in wait outside his wife's apartment, gun in hand, the Register reports.
Prosecutors said Dudley was listening and waiting for his wife to open her door, so he could shoot her. The video also showed Dudley checking his gun, “to make sure it’s ready to go,” Assistant Polk County Attorney Michael Hunter said.
“You’re going to see premedition,” Hunter explained, referring to an element of first-degree murder under Iowa law. “The malice aforethought.”
Even Heidi Young, one of Dudley’s defense attorneys, admitted her client was guilty. “This isn’t a case of whodunit,” she said. Instead, she argued, Dudley didn’t have enough time to form the kind of intent to kill required for a first-degree murder conviction.
Harold Dudley filed for divorce from his wife in April 2017, Matthew Boles, another of Dudley’s attorneys, said later. But, while they were married, Mary Dudley’s family said her husband was so controlling that she had to ask him permission to do "pretty much anything,” as previously reported by Oxygen.com.
Before she was killed, Mary Dudley called 911 to report her estranged husband was outside her apartment trying to get in by picking the lock. Then she texted Charlene Lange, a friend who lived downstairs, and waited. Lange left her apartment and started up the stairs to check on her friend, but encountered Harold Dudley in the stairwell.
He asked to speak with Lange but she declined and walked up the stairs to her friend’s apartment, Lange said. Moments later, he charged the door, battered it with his shoulder until he broke through it.
“He looked like the devil,” Lange testified Wednesday, according to the Des Moines Register.
When he finally entered the apartment, he said “I got you bitch,” Hunter told jurors.
When police arrived, Mary Dudley’s corpse was resting on her couch and the wall behind her was sprayed with blood. On the floor police found the door’s broken lock, screws, six spent 9mm shell casings and sunglasses that prosecutors said Wednesday Harold Dudley dropped.
After the killing, Harold Dudley texted the man who had married the couple, his nephew, Bishop Orlando McClain, and admitted he “killed her,” prosecutors said.
“She’s dead,” he wrote in another text.
McClain then urged Dudley to surrender to police; instead Dudley went to a church. That’s where police arrested him, as he arrived in a gold Buick.
[Photo: Polk County Jail]