MARCH 15, 23:03 EST

Mistrial Urged in Vegas Murder Case
Associated Press Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The murder trial of a woman accused of killing her husband for his $11 million fortune halted Thursday when she declared she wasn't getting proper representation and asked for a mistrial.

``I asked for a mistrial because I didn't know what other options were available to me at this point in the middle of the trial,'' Margaret Rudin told Judge Joseph Bonaventure.

Rudin's lead attorney, Michael Amador, took the unusual step of blaming himself for shortcomings in Rudin's defense and asked to be removed from the case. Bonaventure sent the jury home and said he will decide by Monday whether to start over.

``You know how much money was expended in this case?'' Bonaventure asked Amador. ``Thousands and thousands of dollars. And now, nine days into the case, your client says, 'By the way, things aren't going my way. Give me a mistrial?'''

Rudin, 57, a former Las Vegas socialite, could face life in prison if convicted of murdering real estate developer Ron Rudin in 1994.

Amador, who is not being paid, told the judge he made several mistakes — including announcing that he was ready to take the case to trial.

Prosecutors say Ron Rudin was shot in the head as he slept and his decapitated body was stuffed in a trunk and carted to the desert where it was set on fire. His skull and charred bones were found near the Colorado River.

Prosecutors say Margaret Rudin may have been helped by an unidentified accomplice.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press.