A multimillionaire dentist, who claims his wife shot herself while hurriedly packing a gun on their African safari, has been convicted of murder.
Larry Rudolph, 67, was convicted of murder and mail fraud on Monday following a three-week trial, during which prosecutors presented evidence contradicting the dentist’s claim that his wife of 34 years accidentally killed herself.
On October 11, 2016, Rudolph and his wife, Bianca, were packing to return home from a big-game hunting trip in Zambia, The Daily Beast reported. Rudolph testified at trial that he was in the bathroom when he heard his wife say, “Come here and help me.” Shortly after, he said he heard a gunshot and found his wife lying in a pool of blood. He claimed that the scene looked as though Bianca accidentally killed herself with a shotgun while packing it, with the bullet going through the gun case and landing in her chest.
“I did not murder my wife. I could not murder my wife. I would not murder my wife,” he said at his trial, according to The Daily Beast.
With his testimony deemed valid by the initial investigators, the Zambian government, and the insurance investigators at the time of the shooting, Rudolph was able to collect on a $4.8 million life insurance policy on his wife.
To Bianca’s family and friends, however, Rudolph’s story and subsequent behavior seemed questionable. For example, one of Bianca’s friends found it peculiar that Rudolph had his wife’s body cremated so quickly after her death, while still in Zambia, according to CBS’ “48 Hours.” This same friend called the FBI to express her concerns about Rudolph, telling the agency that Rudolph had had an affair and was verbally abusive toward his wife. In addition, this friend told the FBI that the couple fought about money.
After Bianca’s death, family members said that Rudolph didn’t grieve; instead, he booked a trip to Las Vegas shortly after Bianca’s burial and filed the insurance claim one day before her funeral. He also regularly went out with Lori Milliron, the manager of his dental franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with whom he had an affair while Bianca was still alive.
Another witness also told the FBI that they overheard Rudolph tell Milliron at a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, that “I f***ing killed my wife for you” during an argument. At trial, Rudolph claimed the person misheard and that he actually told Milliron: “The FBI think I f***ing killed my wife for you.” The couple were reportedly in Phoenix because they had bought a house together near Paradise Valley.
Rudolph also said in his testimony that he and his wife agreed in 2000 to have sex with other people and that Bianca knew about Milliron. He claimed the couple were “relatively happy” thanks to their open marriage.
At trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Rudolph provided cash payments to Milliron when Bianca was still alive, and that he gave Milliron a credit card linked to his own account after Bianca died, The Beast reported. Prosecutors also provided evidence showing the shotgun barrel was too long for Bianca to have reached the trigger and that the shot must have come from two- to three-and-a-half-feet away.
In addition to his murder conviction, Rudolph was also convicted of mail fraud for collecting on his wife’s accidental death and life insurance policies, Fox News reported. His trial was held in Denver, Colorado, as that is where the insurance companies are located.
Prosecutors alleged that after Bianca asked for more control over the couple’s finances and demanded that Rudolph fire Milliron, Rudolph killed his wife because he didn’t want to split his $15 million net worth with Bianca in a divorce.
Milliron was also found guilty by the same jury that convicted Rudolph. She was charged with 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, however, on two other counts of perjury.
Rudolph now faces life in prison, while Milliron faces 35 years.