(CNN) A jury in the United States found an American dentist and big-game hunter guilty of murder in the shooting death of his wife while they were on safari in Africa. According to the verdict handed down by a federal jury on Monday, Lawrence Rudolph, 67, used a shotgun to murder his wife, Bianca Rudolph and then cheated various insurance companies. After her passing nearly six years ago, Rudolph cashed in on more than $4.8 million in life insurance payouts.
Rudolph has stated that he is innocent and that he believes the gun went off by accident. He has maintained his innocence. “I did not kill my wife. I was incapable of killing my wife. I would never consider killing my wife “In the self-defense portion of the federal trial that took place in Denver last week, Rudolph shared this information with the jury.
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The couple from Phoenix shared a passion for big-game hunting, and in September of 2016, they went to the country of Zambia in southern Africa so that Bianca Rudolph could add a leopard to the collection of animal trophies that she had already amassed. In preparation for the hunt, they brought along two firearms: a Remington.375 rifle and a Browning 12-gauge shotgun.
In the hunting cabin at Kafue National Park, Bianca Rudolph was killed by a blast from the Browning shotgun two weeks later as she was preparing to return home with her husband. Court filings state that Rudolph reported hearing a gunshot early in the morning while he was in the restroom and told police he thought his wife’s shotgun had gone off inadvertently while she was putting it away. He allegedly told police he discovered her on the floor bleeding.
However, federal prosecutors at Rudolph’s trial in Denver, which took place in the city where the insurance firms are headquartered, characterized the act as one that was premeditated. The prosecution contended that Rudolph murdered his wife of 30 years so that he could collect the insurance money and be with his girlfriend, Lori Milliron.
The attorney for the defense, David Markus, had maintained that there was no financial incentive for Larry Rudolph to kill his wife. In the court records, he pointed out that Rudolph is the owner of a dentistry firm that is worth $10 million and is located near Pittsburgh.
“Obviously, this has left us in a state of profound dismay. We have faith in Larry and all of his children “In a statement issued to CNN following Monday’s verdict, Markus and his fellow defense attorneys Margot Moss and Lauren Doyle said the following. “There are a lot of really strong appellate issues, which we will be pursuing after we have had some time to recuperate,” said the attorney. “There are a lot of really strong appellate problems.”
According to the Department of Justice, the jury also found Milliron, Rudolph’s girlfriend, guilty of being an accessory after the fact of murder, obstruction of justice, and two counts of perjury based on her testimony before a grand jury. These verdicts were based on Milliron’s statements to the grand jury.