When Bianca Finizio Rudolph went on an overseas safari trip with her husband Lawrence, she didn't know that it would end in her untimely death. The Pennsylvania couple, who describe themselves as big game hunters, traveled to Zambia in 2016 to partake in a hunting and safari excursion. However, tragedy struck when Gina allegedly shot herself in the chest by accident while packing her shotgun. Lawrence claimed that he was in the shower when that happened.
Although Zambian authorities ruled the death as accidental, the consular chief at the U.S. Embassy had doubts. Lawrence filed claims with seven life insurance companies for an approximately $5 million payout. However, what ultimately cast doubt was Lawrence's decision to cremate his wife after her death. As Gina was a strict Catholic, cremation was out of the question – and so, too, was divorce.
The marriage was allegedly rocky, and one of Gina's friends who suspected foul play alleged that Lawrence was having an affair and verbally abused Gina. However, Gina would not consider a split due to her faith, casting doubt on her husband's intentions.
A break in the case came after authorities concluded that Gina could not possibly shoot herself accidentally given the type of firearm and its long barrel. Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Lawrence on Dec. 22, and he will go on trial this year.
Foreign Murders: A Criminal Offense
It is a criminal offense for a U.S. national to murder another U.S. citizen, even outside the country. However, the prosecution process comes with both limitations and requirements, such as:
- The Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, or Assistant Attorney General must provide written approval for prosecution.
- The approval cannot go forward if the foreign government has already prosecuted the crime
- Approval is only possible after the Attorney General determines that the killer is no longer in the country where the murder took place
- The country that the murder took place cannot secure the alleged murderer's return
Murder is one of the most severe crimes that a person can commit and leads to equally severe repercussions if a defendant is guilty. Moreover, a U.S. national can receive a prison sentence for a murder committed overseas despite these limitations.
Besides a lengthy prison sentence, the accused will have a criminal record that prevents them from finding solid employment opportunities later. Since Lawrence Rudolph is a dentist, he risks losing his license and destroying his reputation and career in the process.
Have Questions on Foreign Murder Charges or Other Charges with International Implications? Contact a PA Attorney
Involvement in a federal murder charge, or any other criminal charge with international implications, is a grave matter that the accused should take seriously.
Without a robust strategy, the accused may face lengthy prison sentences and a heavy fine – in addition to reputation damage.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with the PA justice system and with domestic and international law enforcement agencies, and he understands the unique challenges that such charges incur.
For more information about foreign murder charges, or other charges with international implications, and help with your case, contact the Lento Law Firm now at 888-535-3686.