Wealthy dentist found guilty of murdering wife on Zambia safari where they’d gone to kill a leopard

A wealthy US dentist has been found guilty of murdering his wife on a Zambia safari where they’d gone to kill a leopard.

Lawrence Rudolph was convicted by a jury in Denver, Colorado, at the end of a three-week trial that heard he had murdered Bianca Rudolph at a remote cabin in Africa and later exclaimed to his longtime lover “I killed my f***ing wife for you.”

Rudolph, 67, was found guilty of murder and mail fraud and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty. He will be sentenced in February.

Rudolph always denied being responsible for his wife’s 2016 death and told authorities in Zambia that he was in the bathroom when his wife shot herself as she packed away a shotgun as the couple prepared to return to the US.

The trial took place in Colorado because that is where the insurance payments of $4.8m in accidental death and life insurance policies were made after the death.

Rudolph’s lawyer, David Markus, had told the trial that the shooting took place at 5am as staff were coming in and out of the cabin to serve the couple breakfast.

He told the jury that lodge workers found Mr Rudolph in shock and distress after the shooting and argued that his wife had accidentally dropped the weapon causing it to discharge.

Authorities in Zambia ruled it an accident after a two-day investigation and insurance investigators also later reached the same conclusion, he added.

During the trial, Rudolph testified that he and his wife had an open marriage. “I would not murder my wife,” he insisted.

Prosecutors told the jury that Rudolph killed his wife so he could be with his girlfriend, who also managed his Pittsburgh-area dental franchise, Lori Milliron.

She was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to murder, obstruction of a grand jury and two counts of perjury before a grand jury. She was found not guilty on two other counts of perjury.

Mr Rudolph met his wife at the University of Pittsburgh and the couple married in 1982.

The couple, who had two children, visited Kafue National Park in 2016 so Bianca could try and achieve her goal of shooting a leopard.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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