A 67-year-old man is charged with murder and mail fraud and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty if found guilty for killing his longtime wife in an incident that took place in 2016 while they were on vacation. The case has become very popular nationwide this week after Assistant U.S. Attorney Bishop Grewell told a jury that the widower, who is now the main suspect in the case, had allegedly confessed to his longtime lover that he had allegedly killed his wife for her.
Lawrence Rudolph is now on trial for the murder of his wife, Bianca Rudolph, at a remote cabin in Zambia while they were on a hunting trip to Africa in 2016. The couple went on a three-week trip so Bianca could kill a leopard. During the holiday, Bianca didn’t kill a leopard, but she did kill other animals. On October 11, Bianca was shot in the chest with a shotgun just as she and her husband were getting ready to leave the hunting camp.
When local authorities responded to the scene, Bianca was already dead, and her husband told them that he had heard the gunshot while he was taking a shower. Per his claims, his wife was suffering from a serious gunshot wound and she was bleeding in the bedroom when he got out of the shower moments after he heard the gunshot. He also said that the gun was still loaded from the day before and that he thought the incident happened when Bianca was trying to put the gun in its case.
The consular chief at the U.S. Embassy in Zambia told the FBI that ‘he had a bad feeling about the incident’ as Lawrence was pushing too hard and was moving too quickly with the process of cremating his dead wife. Lawrence became very frustrated and nervous when he learned that the U.S. Embassy chief went to the funeral house with two other associates to take photos of Lawrence’s dead wife’s body before she was cremated in an effort to “preserve any potential evidence”.
The agents believe that Lawrence wanted to cremate his wife’s body as quickly as possible because that way he could destroy any potential evidence. However, Lawrence’s defense attorneys in court said that Bianca did want to be cremated. Later in October, just a few weeks after the fatal incident, the FBI got involved and opened an investigation after one of Bianca’s friends informed the agency that she suspected foul play because Lawrence had been having an affair at the time of their trip and he had been cheating on her for an extended period of time.
Prosecutors alleged he killed his wife of 34 years so he could collect millions of dollars in life insurance benefits. On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bishop Grewell told a jury during the trial’s opening statements that Rudolph said, “I killed my f—–g wife for you,” the Associated Press reported. Per Grewell, Lawrence confessed to killing Bianca at a dinner with his longtime lover, Lori Milliron, in 2020 when he learned that the FBI was investigating the case. Although Lawrence is from Pennsylvania, the trial is taking place in Colorado because that is where the insurance payments were made.
Zambian investigators ruled Bianca’s death to be accidental, something that was also confirmed by the insurance company’s investigation. However, US medical examiner opined that “it would be physically impossible to accidentally fire this shotgun in its carrying case and produce the entrance defect noted on the body of Ms. Rudolph,” the complaint states. “Further, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Ms. Rudolph to reach the trigger of this weapon even if it was placed in the case with the muzzle pressed against her chest.”
Rudolph has maintained his innocence.