A multimillionaire dentist from the US state of Pennsylvania has been found guilty of murder after fatally shooting his wife of 34 years in the heart with a shotgun at the end of an African safari six years ago.
A grand jury at Denver federal court found Lawrence “Larry” Rudolph, 67, guilty of gunning down his wife of 34 years, Bianca Rudolph, at a hearing on Monday, the New York Post reported at the time.
He now faces a maximum term of life in prison or the death penalty when he is sentenced in February.
Rudolph was also convicted of mail fraud for cashing in $4.8 million in life insurance payments following his wife’s October 2016 death – in what prosecutors describe as a premeditated crime.
A jury of six men and six women sided with prosecutors who said Rudolph killed his wife in cold blood as part of a premeditated plan to take the life insurance payouts and start a new life with his mistress of 20 years, Lori Milliron.
Prosecutors said Rudolph shot his wife while on a hunting trip in Zambia and was overheard years later shouting out “I killed my…wife for you” during an argument with Milliron, while out to dinner.
Milliron 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.
The dentist maintained his innocence during the three-week trial and claimed Bianca Rudolph had accidentally shot herself in the chest while packing away a shotgun when he was in the bathroom.
Rudolph said he was in the bathroom when he heard his wife say ‘come here and help me’ before hearing the shot and finding his wife on the floor bleeding, the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper reported.
However, prosecutors said her gun wound couldn’t have been self-inflicted as the barrel of the gun was too long. They presented damning evidence that showed the shot to her heart had been fired from two feet to three-and-a-half feet away.
Rudolph’s lawyers said he had no motive to kill his wife for Milliron because the couple had been in an open relationship since 2000. They also said he had no financial need for the life insurance payouts, which went into a trust for the couple’s children, when he was worth more than $15 million at the time.
Investigators from the insurance companies concluded that the shooting was accidental and paid out nearly $5 million to the family.
Prosecutors claimed Milliron, who is the manager of Rudolph’s Pittsburgh-area dental franchise, became privy to the murder after the fact. They accused her of lying to a federal grand jury about the case and her relationship with Rudolph.
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