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Wealthy Dentist Found Guilty Of Killing Wife On African Safari To Hunt Big Game

Lawrence Rudolph collected nearly $5 million in life insurance payouts after his wife Bianca Rudolph's purportedly accidental death during a big game hunting trip in Africa in 2016, but federal investigators eventually concluded he killed her.

By Jill Sederstrom
Defense attorneys for Pittsburgh dentist Lawrence "Larry" Rudolph head into federal courthouse

A wealthy dentist has been convicted of killing his wife, nearly six years after she was shot in the heart during an African safari trip in 2016.

It took a federal jury in Denver a day and a half to convict Lawrence “Larry” Rudolph of murder and mail fraud, for collecting more than $4.8 million in life insurance benefits in connection with the death of his wife Bianca Rudolph, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors contended that Larry shot his wife of 34 years on October 11, 2016 on what had been their final day of a big game hunting trip to Kafue National Park in Zambia in a premeditated act so that he could begin a new life with his long-term mistress, Lori Milliron.

Milliron was also found guilty Monday of being an accessory after the fact to murder, obstruction of a grand jury and two counts of perjury before a grand jury.

The jurors found her not guilty of three other counts of perjury.

Larry’s attorney, David Markus, has vowed to appeal his conviction.

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

Larry and Bianca’s two adult children, Anabianca and Julian Rudolph, had been regular fixtures in the courtroom as they supported their father.

As he left court last week, Larry gestured to his children, making the sign of a cross, according to Fox News.

While testifying on his own behalf during the trial, Larry insisted on the stand that Bianca died accidentally when she was packing up a shotgun to go home around 5:30 a.m. and it went off, striking her in the chest.

He said he was in the bathroom of their small cabin when he heard the loud blast and ran out to try to help his wife.

Zambia Police concluded the death had been an accident and the insurers, who had initially reached the same conclusion, paid out the nearly $5 million in life insurance policies.

But, the FBI began its own investigation into the death several weeks after Bianca died, when one of her close friends called authorities to report that she “suspected foul play,” according to court records previously obtained by Law & Crime.

While building their case, prosecutors pointed to Larry’s rush to cremate his wife along with evidence they said suggested Bianca had been shot from a distance of 2 to 3.5 feet away, making it impossible for her to have fired the gun herself, the AP reports. The couple’s hunting guide also testified that he had seen Larry unload the gun the day before the shooting.

Prosecutors noted that just one day after his wife’s funeral he had gone to Las Vegas with another woman, who was not Milliron.

That same month, he invited Milliron, a former dental hygienist-turned-office manager who told a fellow coworker she had been carrying on an affair with the married dentist for 15 to 20 years, to move in with him, according to CNN.

During the trial, jurors also heard that a Phoenix-area steakhouse bartender had overheard Larry telling Milliron “I killed my f---ing wife for you!” during a heated argument.

Larry testified that he been stressed about the FBI investigation and had actually said, “Now they’re saying I killed my f---ing wife for you.”

“I did not murder my wife,” he insisted.

Larry's defense team had also argued that there had been no financial motive to kill his wife because he had been worth about $15 million around the time of her death as a result of the successful dental practices.

After the verdict was handed down Monday, U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan thanked the FBI for their work to solve the case.

“Bianca Rudolph deserved justice,” he said, according to the AP.

Larry Rudolph is expected to be sentenced in February and could receive a maximum of life in prison or the death penalty.

Milliron, who was released with a GPS monitor until her sentencing date, could be facing up to 35 years behind bars, according to Rolling Stone.