A Pennsylvania man who claimed to be in the throes of a nightmare about his wife cheating on him suddenly rose from bed and began a fierce attack on the woman and their teenage daughter, strangling both, police said.
Conrad Rudalavage, 49, is scheduled to appear in court in northeastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday on attempted murder charges filed by Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon. His wife, Lori Williams-Rudalavage, was badly hurt in the Jan. 14 attack, police said.
She told investigators her husband had been drinking before he fell asleep and arose in a “bad dream” about her being unfaithful. He remained convinced the dream was real as he told her, “I loved you. Now I am going to kill you,” according to the criminal complaint.
“That’s in her statement ― that he said he was dreaming at the time,” Chief Timothy Trently of the Archbald Police Department said on Monday.
Officers called to the Rudalavages’ home in Archbald, a small borough near Scranton, found Lori Williams-Rudalavage suffering from “extensive injuries,” Trently told The Huffington Post.
After dreaming about his cheating wife, Rudalavage choked her and slammed her head against the floor, police said. Williams-Rudalavage told police she got away from him and ran outside to her vehicle, but he grabbed the keys and dragged her into the garage, where police said he repeatedly punched her.
The couple’s 17-year-old daughter arrived home around that time and told police she heard her father scream: “Fuck you, I’m going to kill you.”
The girl tried to call 911, but her father choked her and smashed her cellphone, police said. When she broke free, he returned to attacking his wife, the criminal complaint alleges.
Neighbors finally stopped the assault. Rudalavage drove off in his Jeep Cherokee, with police in pursuit, before he was arrested in a nearby parking lot, police said.
Rudalavage was held without bond at the Lackawanna County jail. Court documents list his attorney as Robert J. Munley, but a secretary answering Munley’s phone on Monday said the lawyer is “not representing Mr. Rudalavage.”
Sleepwalking has been used as a defense in criminal cases before. A notable case involving a claim of homicidal somnambulism, or sleepwalking murder, occurred 287 miles southwest of Archbald, in Sarver, Pennsylvania.
In 1994, Michael Ricksgers, then 37, was convicted in the Christmas 1993 fatal shooting of his wife, Janet, after failing to persuade a jury that he was sleepwalking at the time. Ricksgers is serving a life sentence.