Dentist found guilty in wife’s death on 2016 African safari

Aug 1, 2022, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:52 pm
FILE - The son, left, and daughter, back right, of Pittsburgh dentist Lawrence "Larry" Rudolph head...

FILE - The son, left, and daughter, back right, of Pittsburgh dentist Lawrence "Larry" Rudolph head into federal court for the afternoon session of the trial, July 13, 2022, in Denver. Rudolph accused of shooting and killing his wife in their cabin at the end of an African safari trip has denied that he killed her. Rudolph took the stand Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at his murder trial in Denver federal court. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — A wealthy dentist accused of fatally shooting his wife in the heart with a shotgun at the end of an African safari was found guilty of murder and mail fraud on Monday.

A jury of six men and six women reached the verdict for Lawrence “Larry” Rudolph following a three week trial and a day and a half of deliberations.

Rudolph, 67, was charged with foreign murder in the 2016 death of Bianca Rudolph in Zambia as well as mail fraud for cashing in $4.8 million in life insurance claims in what prosecutors describe as a premeditated crime. Some of the money was paid out of Colorado so he was tried in Denver federal court.

He faces a maximum term of life in prison or the death penalty when he is sentenced in February.

Rudolph maintained his innocence and the two adult children he had with his wife sat in court to support him during the trial. One of Rudolph’s defense attorneys, David Markus, said they would appeal his conviction.

“We believe in Larry. We believe in his family,” he said outside court.

The defense suggested Rudolph’s wife of 34 years, a nervous traveler, shot herself while trying to pack a shotgun in a hurry as they prepared to return from Zambia to the United States in 2016.

But prosecutors countered that evidence showed that was impossible because the wound to her heart came from a shot fired from 2 to 3.5 feet (60 centimeters to 1 meter) away.

The couple’s longtime hunting guide, Mark Swanepoel, told investigators that Rudolph had unloaded the shotgun the day before the fatal shooting, but Rudolph testified that he could not remember if he had or not.

When he returned home to Phoenix days later, Rudolph said he put the shotgun in his garage not wanting to look at it. Then sometime in 2018, as he was preparing to sell his house and before he found out the FBI was investigating his wife’s death, he said he took the gun apart, put it into two cardboard boxes and paid a man cash to haul it away with along with other trash.

Prosecutors also accused Rudolph’s girlfriend and the manager of his Pittsburgh-area dental franchise, Lori Milliron, of lying to a federal grand jury and being an accessory.

She was found guilty by the same jury Monday of being an accessory after the fact to murder, obstruction of a grand jury and two counts of perjury before a grand jury. She was found not guilty on three other counts of perjury.

Rudolph waved to Milliron as he was led out of court and back to jail after not having any interaction with her in the courtroom in previous days. Milliron will remain free with an ankle monitor until she is sentenced.

Prosecutors alleged that Rudolph decided to kill his wife to regain control over his life after Bianca Rudolph asked for more say in the couple’s finances and demanded that Milliron be fired. Rudolph said his wife agreed to have an open marriage and the defense argued there was no financial incentive for Rudolph, who was worth about $15 million at the time, to kill his wife.

Investigators in Zambia and for the insurers concluded her death was an accident. Prosecutors noted that Rudolph hung up on an insurance investigator who tried to speak with him and declined to participate in a voluntary interview with an FBI agent.

Colorado’s U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan thanked the FBI for traveling around the world to collect evidence and interview witnesses in the case and said he hoped the verdict brings some peace to Bianca Rudolph’s family.

“Bianca Rudolph deserved justice,” he said.

____

This story has been corrected to say that Lori Milliron was acquitted of three perjury counts, not two.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, left, speaks as former President D...
Associated Press

What to watch in Wis., 3 other states in Tuesday’s primaries

The Republican matchup in the Wisconsin governor’s race on Tuesday features competing candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump and his estranged vice president, Mike Pence. Democrats are picking a candidate to face two-term GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for control of the closely divided chamber. Meanwhile, voters in Vermont are choosing a replacement for U.S. […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A bridge along KY-3351 over Troublesome Creek near Ary in Perry County, Ky., remains damaged...
Associated Press

Biden to join governor to survey flood damage in Kentucky

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and the first lady are expected to join Gov. Andy Beshear and his wife, Britainy, as they meet with families and view damage from storms that have created the worst flooding in Kentucky’s history. At least 37 people have died since last month’s deluge, which dropped 8 to 10 […]
22 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House Monday, Aug. 1, 202...
Associated Press

One year after Afghanistan, spy agencies pivot toward China

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a recent closed-door meeting with leaders of the agency’s counterterrorism center, the CIA’s No. 2 official made clear that fighting al-Qaida and other extremist groups would remain a priority — but that the agency’s money and resources would be increasingly shifted to focusing on China. The CIA drone attack that killed […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Wisconsin Lt. Gov. and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes speaks at a rally at ...
Associated Press

Dems look ahead to Barnes in fall race against Ron Johnson

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes grew up in Milwaukee with a mom who was a public school teacher and a father who worked in a factory — both union members, an important credential in a state where the labor movement is still a force. At 35, Barnes is nearly half the age […]
22 hours ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian stocks mixed after US job gain paves way for rate hike

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed on Monday after strong U.S. jobs data cleared the way for more interest rate hikes and China reported its exports rose by double digits. Shanghai and Tokyo advanced while Hong Kong and Seoul retreated. Oil prices edged higher. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 lost 0.2% on Friday after […]
22 hours ago
A rescue worker puts out the fire at the house destroyed by a Russian attack in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, ...
Associated Press

Russian forces start new assault on two Ukrainian cities

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces began an assault Saturday on two key cities in the eastern Donetsk region and kept up rocket and shelling attacks on other Ukrainian cities, including one close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s military and local officials said. Both cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka have been considered key […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Dentist found guilty in wife’s death on 2016 African safari