Milionnaire dentist Lawrence Rudolph FOUND GUILTY of killing his wife on African safari in 2016
Rudolph was charged with murder and mail fraud after cashing $4.8M in life insurance claims in the premeditated crime, according to prosecutors
DENVER, COLORADO: On Monday, August 1, wealthy dentist Lawrence "Larry" Rudolph was found guilty of murder and mail fraud for cashing in $4.8M in life insurance claims after he fatally shot his wife at the end of an African safari.
Following a three-week trial in a Denver federal courthouse, a grand jury returned the guilty verdict, condemning the 67-year-old Rudolph for murdering his wife of 34 years, Bianca Rudolph.
Rudolph insisted on his innocence. His attorney suggested Bianca shot herself while rushing to pack a shotgun as they prepared to return to the United States from Zambia in 2016. Earlier, Larry had said that he was in the bathroom when he heard a gunshot and discovered his wife bleeding, dead on the bedroom floor, '48 Hours' had reported, earlier this year.
However, prosecutors argued that the evidence showed that this was impossible because the wound to her heart was caused by a shot fired from 2 to 3.5 feet away. Jurors agreed with prosecutors who claimed Rudolph murdered his wife in cold blood as part of a premeditated plan after she demanded more control over the couple's finances.
They claimed Rudolph shot his wife on October 11, 2016 while on a hunting trip in Zambia and was overheard, years later, shouting "I killed my f**king wife for you!" during an argument with his girlfriend Lori Milliron while out to dinner. As '48 Hours' previously reported, Rudolph had his wife's body quickly cremated in Zambia, leading a friend of Bianca's to doubt this was an accident. The friend contacted the FBI shortly after Bianca's death. She also claimed Lawrence was having an affair and was verbally abusive to Bianca, according to an FBI complaint cited by '48 Hours.' The couple fought over money, the friend claimed.
Rudolph's attorneys claimed he had no reason to kill his wife got his girlfriend Lori Milliron because the couple had been in an open relationship since 2000. They also claimed he had no need for the life insurance payouts, which were placed in a trust for the couple's children, despite the fact that he was worth more than $15M at the time.
Insurance company investigators determined that the shooting was unintentional and awarded the family nearly $5M. Prosecutors claimed Milliron, who was the manager of Rudolph's Pittsburgh-area dental franchise, learned about the murder after it happened. They charged her with perjuring herself in front of a federal grand jury about the case and her relationship with Rudolph. She was also found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to murder, obstruction of a grand jury, and two counts of perjury before a grand jury by the same jury. On two other counts of perjury, she was found not guilty. Rudolph is facing life in prison or the death penalty.