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Woman convicted of accessory to murder in Zambia safari case is sentenced to prison

Posted at 10:14 AM, Jun 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-27 12:14:41-04

DENVER — The girlfriend of a man who was convicted of killing his wife during a trip to Zambia was sentenced to 17 years in prison for her role as an accessory to the crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Monday.

Lori Milliron, 65, formerly of Paradise Valley, Arizona, was sentenced to 17 years in prison, plus the maximum fine of $250,000. Last summer, she was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to murder, obstruction, and two counts of perjury before a grand jury after a trial. The jury acquitted her of three other counts of perjury, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Based on evidence presented at trial, Lawrence Rudolph, the wealthy founder of a Pennsylvania dental franchise, and his wife Bianca Rudolph went on a hunting trip to Zambia on Oct. 11, 2016. He shot his wife through the heart with a 12-gauge shotgun, which was in a soft-shell case. Prosecutors said this was an intentional effort to make the shooting look like an accident.

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When Lawrence Rudolph returned to the United States, he filed fraudulent claims on nine life insurance policies, which were issued by seven different companies, to obtain $4,877,744.93.

Milliron was subpoenaed to provide information in front of the grand jury that was investigating Bianca Rudolph's death. She appeared in court on Jan. 5, 2022 and the U.S. Attorney's Office said she "lied and otherwise obstructed that investigation to help Rudolph avoid prosecution."

"Asked about the nature of her relationship with Rudolph and the purpose of cash payments Rudolph had made to her before Bianca’s death, she testified that she didn’t know why and that Rudolph was simply being generous. But it was actually because she was Rudolph’s long-time mistress," the office said.

Milliron told the grand jury that Lawrence Rudolph was "irritated" by the investigation and was "probably innocent," however he had told her in the spring of 2020 that “I killed my (expletive) wife for you," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Lawrence Rudolph was charged in 2021 and found guilty of murder and mail fraud in August 2022. The verdict was reached by a jury in a Denver federal court following a trial that lasted three weeks. The trial was in Colorado because the insurance payouts were based there.

He was expected to be sentenced this week, but it was vacated and will be reset at another time.

The U.S. Attorney's Office determined that Milliron likely "aided and abetted its execution by helping Rudolph obtain several vials of propofol, an anesthetic drug that is deadly at certain doses, before two of Rudolph and Bianca’s scheduled Zambian safaris." It added that she did not seem remorseful.

After sentencing her to 17 years in prison, Judge William J. Martínez said the long sentence was deserved because evidence pointed to Milliron “encouraging” the crime, according to a report from the Associated Press. He said Milliron seemed “unrepentant” in part because he judged her emotionally unmoved when she was shown graphic images and as she listened to wrenching testimony during the trial.

“Justice has arrived for Lori Milliron,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “We thank our partners at the FBI, as well as our prosecutors and professional staff, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that this defendant would not evade responsibility for her role in this terrible murder.”

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