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Man Convicted in 33-Year-Old Murder Case

March 23, 1990

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A jury found a man guilty of murdering his 11-year-old cousin, 33 years after the boy was found sodomized and hanging from a clothesline.

Richard Ruff, 53, was found guilty Thursday of murdering his cousin, William Ruff Jr., on Aug. 31, 1957. The verdict ended what authorities said was the longest unsolved homicide investigation in state history.

Ruff showed no emotion when the verdict was read. Mildred Ruff, the victim’s mother, sobbed quietly as she sat with family members in court.

″Everything is at rest now and we’ll be at peace,″ Ms. Ruff said.

Two medical witnesses for the prosecution said ″Billy″ Ruff was sodomized and strangled before being hung from a clothesline attached to a tree in a brush-covered lot near the family’s suburban Albany home.

Richard Ruff, then in the Air Force, was home on leave at the time of his cousin’s death.

In convicting Ruff of first-degree felony murder, the jury concluded that he killed his cousin in the commission or the attempted commission of sodomy.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. Judge Thomas W. Keegan set sentencing for April 19.

Ruff is already serving a state prison sentence of four to 12 years for sexually molesting two girls in Hoosick Falls in Rensselaer County.

Ruff, who served on the Albany police force for several months in 1958, was not a suspect in the unsolved murder until 1988. That was when Christopher Ruff, the victim’s brother, spotted a wanted poster for Richard Ruff on the child sex abuse charges in Hoosick Falls.

Christopher Ruff, an Albany County sheriff’s deputy, alerted investigators. State police tracked Richard Ruff down in Orlando, Fla., and he was returned to New York.

″Billy is in peace,″ said Christopher Ruff after the verdict.

Public defender Joseph McCoy contended William Ruff Jr. was hanged accidentally while swinging from a tree.

McCoy said he will appeal the verdict.

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