Pennsylvania dentist Lawrence Rudolph is accused of shooting his wife in the heart to collect a multi-million dollar insurance payout and start a new life with his girlfriend
A husband has been accused of murdering his wife on an African safari hunt to collect insurance money more than five years ago.
Bianca Finizio Rudolph died after traveling to Zambia “to kill a leopard” in 2016 after being blasted in the chest at point-blank range.
Now her husband Lawrence Rudolph, 67, is accused of murdering her to win millions of dollars in life insurance money, it has been claimed.
Lawrence Rudolph, a dentist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told Zambian police his wife died accidentally after trying to put the shotgun back in her case without realizing it was still loaded.
According to court filings filed in the United States this week, shortly after his wife’s death, Rudolph contacted the local U.S. consulate and told them he was interested in having his wife’s body cremated as soon as possible.
He has now been charged with murder abroad and mail fraud, officials said.
A consulate official, after speaking with Rudolph, told the FBI that he had “a bad feeling about the situation, which he felt was “moving too quickly.”
The officer told investigators that Ms. Rudolph appeared to have been shot in the heart from a distance of two to two meters.
He took some photos of Ms. Rudolph’s wound, which apparently infuriated the suspect, reports the New York Post.
These photos were later shown to the Colorado Medical Examiner, who stated, “In my opinion, it would be physically impossible to accidentally fire this shotgun in its carrying case and produce that.” [injury] noted on Mrs. Rudolph’s corpse”.
A friend of the victim told the FBI that her children from a previous marriage only knew of her death after the cremation, adding that Ms. Rudolph, as a “strict Catholic,” did not want to be cremated.
According to court documents obtained by CBS 2, Rudolph sought just under $5 million (£3.64 million) in insurance payments after his wife’s death.
A former employee of Mr. Rudolph’s Three Rivers Dental told investigators that Rudolph was in a relationship with another employee who had given him “a one-year ultimatum to sell his dental offices and leave Bianca” shortly before Ms. Rudolph’s death.
The victim also updated her insurance policy shortly before her death.
Travel documents show that Mr. Rudolph and his alleged mistress took numerous vacations together following Ms. Rudolph’s death, including one that was booked immediately after the incident.
Investigators said Rudolph was living with his girlfriend as of January 2017.
Four of the seven insurance companies that hold policies for Ms. Rudolph have hired a private investigator to investigate the circumstances of her death.
In the end, everyone decided to pay out the policies. .
But a friend of the Rudolphs told the FBI that the alleged killer had a motive for killing: “Larry will never divorce her because he doesn’t want to lose his money, and she will never divorce him because of her Catholicism.” ”
Rudolph’s lawyers have dismissed the FBI’s allegations, saying that with personal assets worth over US$8million (£5.83million), he had no motive to kill his wife and get the insurance payout.
“This is an outrageous charge against Dr. Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife for 34 years and did not kill her,” his attorney David Oscar Markus said in a statement.
“In 2016, while on a hunting trip in Zambia, his wife had a terrible accident. Investigators at the scene concluded it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed.”
“Now, more than five years later, the government is trying to fabricate a case against this respected and law-abiding dentist. dr Rudolph looks forward to his trial where he will prove his innocence.”