A federal jury on Monday found a dentist guilty of fatally shooting his wife in the heart during a 2016 hunting trip to Zambia and then collected nearly $4.9 million.
A jury found dentist Lawrence Rudolph guilty of one count of murder in a foreign country and one count of mail fraud after a day and a half of deliberations at the end of a three-week trial in a federal courtroom. in Denver.
Bianca Rudolph, Dr. Rudolph’s 34-year-old wife died after the hunt ended. Dr. Rudolph, 67, who walks by Larry’s side, pleaded not guilty to her death in January.
“We are grateful for the jury’s diligence in considering all the evidence in this case,” Cole Finegan, U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado, said in a statement. “Bianca Rudolph Deserves Justice”.
Dr. Rudolph’s attorneys will appeal the decision, said Miami-based criminal attorney David Oscar Markus. Dr. Rudolph’s two grown children signed statements saying they believed in his innocence.
“We are very disappointed,” his lawyers said in a statement. “We believe in Larry and his children.”
in 2023 February 1 the convicted Dr. Rudolph could face a maximum prison sentence or the death penalty for the murder charge. The mail fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
in 2016 the couple traveled to Zambia, where they traveled to Kafue National Park, an area about the size of New Jersey that is popular with safari operators. It is home to cheetahs, hippos, lions, rare antelopes and leopards, the last of which Mr. Rudolph hoped to hunt on the trip.
According to federal court documents, a game manager and game scout said that in 2016 October 11 rushed to the cabin in the morning when he heard a shot. They saw that Mrs. Rudolph was bleeding from the left side of her chest. Dr. Rudolph said his wife accidentally dropped the rifle when she put it away while he was in the bath.
Local Zambian law enforcement ruled Rudolph’s death an accident.
Investigators later said Dr. Rudolph was involved with Lori Milliron during their marriage and at the time of his wife’s death, and that he adjusted her life insurance policies that same year. Prosecutors argued during the trial that Dr. Rudolph killed his wife for financial reasons and to be with Ms. Milliron.
“I absolutely did not shoot my wife,” Dr. Rudolph said in court Wednesday. according to The Colorado Springs Gazette. “I didn’t kill my wife for insurance. I didn’t kill my wife to be with Lori Milliron or anyone else.
Ms. Milliron was found guilty of accessory to murder, obstruction of justice and two counts of perjury before a grand jury. She manages his dental practice in Greensburg, Pa., according to court documents.
She will remain free with an ankle monitor pending sentencing, according to The Associated Press. Ms. Milliron was found not guilty of three other perjury charges. Her attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
“We can only hope that this sentence brings some peace to Bianca’s family.” Mr. Finegan, the US attorney, said.
Doctor Rudolph told investigators while Mrs. Rudolph was packing it, a Browning 12-gauge pistol accidentally went off. He sought to have her body cremated shortly after her death, raising the suspicions of US consular officials. At the time, he cited the inconvenience of moving the body internationally, but investigators noted that Dr. Rudolph had previously arranged for several large animals he would hunt to be shipped internationally.
A friend of Ms. Rudolph also told FBI officials that it was unlikely she would have wanted to be cremated because of her religious beliefs.
The Zambia Police Service determined that “the firearm was loaded from a previous hunting activity and that normal safety precautions were not taken when packing a firearm, resulting in the firearm accidentally discharging,” the summary cited in federal court said. documents.
But when the FBI and US consular officials tried to recreate the shooting, they decided it was unlikely she accidentally pulled the trigger. They said she was shot from six and a half to eight feet away.