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'I Killed My F---ing Wife For You': Prosecutors Allege Dentist Confessed He Murdered Spouse On Safari
Lawrence Rudolph's attorney David Markus disputed the prosecution's theory of the case, telling the jury in opening statements that his client had actually said “They’re saying I killed my f---ing wife for you” and was not confessing to any murder.
A wealthy dentist on trial for killing his wife during an African safari allegedly confessed to pulling the trigger to his long-time mistress, federal prosecutors said Wednesday in their opening statements.
A witness at a Phoenix, Arizona steakhouse allegedly overheard Lawrence Rudolph tell his girlfriend Lori Milliron, “I killed my f---ing wife for you!” during a heated argument between the pair after Rudolph learned his wife’s death was being investigated by the FBI, The Associated Press reports.
“He killed his wife for HER!,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bishop Grewell said in the Denver courthouse Wednesday while pointing to Milliron, who is facing charges of lying to a grand jury and being an accessory after the fact.
Rudolph is facing charges of murder and mail fraud in the death of his wife of 34 years, Bianca Rudolph.
Prosecutors believe Lawrence shot Bianca on the final day of their big game hunting trip in October 2016 at the Kafue National Park in Zambia.
Rudolph told authorities he had been in the bathroom of the couple’s small cabin when he heard a firearm go off and rushed into the bedroom to find his wife with a gunshot wound “straight to the heart,” according to an affidavit previously obtained by Law & Crime.
He told Zambian police he believed his wife had been packing a 12-gauge shotgun in its case when the gun accidentally went off, killing her.
Zambian police later concluded that Bianca had failed to take proper safety precautions while packing the loaded gun, ultimately leading to her death.
But prosecutors have said evidence suggests that Bianca was shot from about two to three-and-a-half feet away and contend that Rudolph had wanted to kill his wife to collect more than $4.8 million in insurance money.
They also believe that Rudolph had been given an ultimatum from Milliron, a former hygienist and office manager at his thriving Pittsburgh dental practice, to divorce his wife.
A U.S. consular official in Zambia has said Rudolph appeared to be in a rush to cremate his wife—something her close friend would later tell authorities Bianca would have never wanted because of her devout Catholic faith.
In court Wednesday, Rudolph’s attorney David Markus disputed the prosecution’s theory, telling the jury that the couple had been in a happy marriage. Although both had extramarital affairs, he said the couple often traveled together for big game hunts and were parents to two grown children—who stood up in court to show their support for their father, according to The Associated Press.
Just moments after Bianca was shot, Markus said hunting guides had rushed into the room to find Rudolph in distress, adding that staff and been in and out of the cabin all morning before the shooting.
According to Markus, when Rudolph decided to have his wife cremated, he had just been following her wishes, showing the jury a copy of what he said was her will that specified she had wanted to be cremated.
He also disputed the prosecution’s theory that there had been a financial incentive for killing his wife and said Rudolph had a net worth of more than $15 million at the time.
The money from the insurance proceeds had gone into a trust for his children, Markus said.
“He has the truth on his side,” Markus said.
As for that damaging remark at the Phoenix steakhouse, Markus said his client had actually said “They’re saying I killed my f---ing wife for you” and was not confessing to any murder.
“If that is what this case depends on, I can’t believe we’re going to be here for three weeks,” he said.
Rudolph is expected to tell the jury in his own words what happened that fateful morning when he takes the stand later in the trial, Markus said.
Milliron’s attorney, John Dill, also addressed the jury and denied his client had known anything about alleged murder plans.
He argued that he had been asked leading questions at the grand jury and said his client’s romantic involvement with Rudolph was not central to the allegations.
“This isn’t a trial about adultery,” he said.
The trial, which is being held in Denver because that's the location of some of the insurance companies, is expected to include testimony from Zambian investigators, FBI analysts and others who knew the couple, The Associated Press reported previously.
If convicted, Rudolph could face life in prison or death.