标记档案: 非洲人

Trial Begins for Big Game Hunter Accused of Murdering Wife on African Safari, Claiming It Was Accidental

Lawrence Rudolph and his wife Bianca traveled to Africa multiple times to hunt big game.

在九月 2016, the couple traveled to Zambia so Bianca could kill a leopard. She was unsuccessful, but she did kill other animals on their three-week hunting trip.

The couple was getting ready to leave their hunting camp in Kafue National Park on the morning of Oct. 11 when Bianca died from a fatal shotgun blast to the chest.

鲁道夫, a former dentist from the Pittsburgh area, told the Zambian police that he heard the gunshot while he was taking a shower and that he found his wife on the bedroom floor bleeding from the chest.

He suspected that the shotgun had been left loaded from the hunt the previous day and that the discharge occurred while Bianca, his wife of 34 年, was trying to pack the shotgun into its case, according to a federal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.

Larry Rudolph

Larry Rudolph

Larry Rudolph.
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Although Zambia law enforcement ruled her death as an accidental discharge, federal authorities in the U.S. were not convinced, ultimately accusing him of killing his wife so he could collect millions of dollars in life insurance benefits. Rudolph was charged with foreign murder and mail fraud.

He goes on trial this week in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Larry Rudolph

Larry Rudolph

Larry and Bianca Rudolph.
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Jury selection began Monday, and opening statements are expected Tuesday.

Also on trial with Rudolph is his alleged girlfriend and former manager of his Pittsburgh dental business, Lori Milliron. She is accused of perjury and being an accessory after the fact.

Rudolph has maintained his innocence.

This is an outrageous prosecution against Dr. Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife of 34 years and did not kill her,” Rudolphi’s attorney, David Oscar Markus, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE after he was charged. “早在 2016, his wife had a terrible accident during a hunting trip in Zambia. The investigators on the scene concluded it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed.

Federal authorities got involved in the case after a friend of Bianca’s told authorities on Oct. 27, 2016, that she wanted the FBI to investigate her friend’s death because she suspected foul play, claiming that Rudolph had cheated on his wife and had been having an affair at the time of her death.

“[朋友] said Lawrence had been verbally abusive in the past and that the two had had fights about money,” 投诉称. “Friend also said she believed the cremation to have been against Bianca’s wishes because Bianca was a strict Catholic who had once expressed disapproval that friend’s husband was cremated. 相似地, friend stated, ‘Larry is never going to divorce her because he doesn’t want to lose his money, and she’s never going to divorce him because of her Catholicism.'

Trees in a park, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Trees in a park, Kafue National Park, Zambia

DEA / S.VANNINI/De Agostini via Getty Images

根据投诉, the consular chief at the U.S. Embassy in Zambia told the FBI he had talked to Rudolph about cremating his wife’s body.

The consular chief told the FBI he hada bad feeling about the situation, which he thought was moving too quickly. 其结果, he traveled to [the funeral home] with two others from the embassy to take photographs of the body and preserve any potential evidence,” the complaint alleged.

The consular chief told the FBI that Rudolph waslividwhen Rudolph discovered he had gone to see Bianca’s body and taken photographs.

In addition to the evidence of motive — the insurance proceeds and the possible desire to live openly with [一种] girlfriend — additional evidence gathered during the investigation supports [这] conclusion that there is probable cause to believe that Bianca Rudolph did not die by accident and was, rather, killed by Lawrence Rudolph,” the complaint alleged.

In a filing by Rudolph’s defense attorneys, they wrote that Bianca did want to be cremated.

The agentsbelief that Dr. Rudolph cremated his wife’s remains to destroy evidence was proven false as her will expressly directed cremation,” the filing states. “此外, the government’s contention that Dr. Rudolph plotted to ‘escape rigorous scrutiny and maintain control of evidence,’ is flatly false. The Zambian investigators, who ruled the death accidental, maintained that Dr. Rudolph did nothing to improperly influence the investigation or to obstruct justice.

Authorities have said that Bianca could not have shot herself with that type of shotgun because of its long barrel. A Colorado medical examiner opined thatit would be physically impossible to accidentally fire this shotgun in its carrying case and produce the entrance defect noted on the body of Ms. 鲁道夫,” 投诉称. “更远, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Ms. Rudolph to reach the trigger of this weapon even if it was placed in the case with the muzzle pressed against her chest.

An arrest warrant was issued for Rudolph on Dec. 22, 2021. He was indicted in early January, 2022 in Colorado, where one of the insurance companies involved is based.