A wealthy dentist has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife during an African safari in Zambia. Larry Rudolph, who was also convicted of mail fraud, now faces over $15 million in penalties. Prosecutors argue that the murder was the culmination of a lifetime spent seeking domination and control through wealth and power. Rudolph, the owner of a dental franchise in the Pittsburgh area, maintains that his wife’s death was an accident and plans to appeal the conviction.
According to prosecutors, Rudolph shot his wife of 34 years in the heart with a shotgun on the last morning of their trip. He then staged the scene to make it appear as though she had accidentally shot herself while packing. The couple had been hunting game during their safari. However, evidence presented in court contradicted Rudolph’s version of events. The wound to her heart indicated that the shot was fired from a distance of 2 to 3.5 feet away. Prosecutors also highlighted Rudolph’s attempts to intimidate officials investigating the case and his rush to have his wife cremated. They allege that Rudolph’s motive was to live a lavish retirement with his longtime girlfriend, Lori Milliron, using the insurance money. Milliron, who was convicted as an accessory, has filed an appeal.
The couple’s two adult children, Julian and AnaBianca Rudolph, have remained relatively silent about their mother’s death. However, AnaBianca testified against Milliron during her sentencing. The children are now fighting for financial restitution, arguing that they, not the insurance companies, are the true victims of the insurance fraud. They claim to have suffered considerable financial harm and are seeking compensation.
Prosecutors allege that Rudolph built his wealth through fraud, including shooting off his thumb to collect disability insurance and cheating dental patients. The government is seeking a fine twice the amount Rudolph received from the life insurance policies, as well as the value of the jewelry his wife was wearing when she was killed. They are also demanding $4.9 million in restitution to the insurance companies, the forfeiture of $4.8 million from bank accounts, and the seizure of real estate and luxury vehicles.
Rudolph’s lawyers argue that the combined penalties amount to over $25 million, which he cannot afford. They claim that Rudolph’s worth is now less than $10 million and that his dwindling dental practice and significant debts prevent him from paying such a sum. They assert that the financial burden would fall on Rudolph’s adult children, who now control his finances. Prosecutors, however, contend that Rudolph would still have millions of dollars left after paying restitution and the fine.