Sun City Man, 78, Accused of Murdering Wife, Said He "Can't Stand Her Any Longer"

Categories: Death Valley
crime-tape-top2.jpg
Alan Cleaver via Flickr


A 78-year-old man who lives in the retirement community of Sun City is accused of fatally shooting his wife Wednesday morning.

Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies initially proposed that it could have been a "mercy killing" of a terminally ill spouse, which would be the second one in Sun City in the past year. However, court documents describe a killing that doesn't seem to provide much "mercy" for the victim.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, MCSO deputies responded to the 911 hang-up at 78-year-old Howard Rudolph's Sun City home just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Rudolph had left the keys outside the door, so deputies let themselves in. When they asked Rudolph where his wife was, he pointed to the bathroom.

Deputies found his wife's dead body in that bathroom, and Howard told the deputies, "I had to do it," according to the booking sheet.

"Howard stated he felt terrible and that he just could not take it anymore," records state. "Howard never admitted to murdering his wife; however, he made multiple remarks that he just couldn't take it anymore.

Rudolph reportedly told deputies he also left a letter for his attorney, leaving instructions to cremate "the bodies" and what to do with his estate.

And he's said to have made an admission to killing his wife while talking, within earshot of a deputy, to a doctor on the scene who was recording the conversation.

"The deputy recorded the statement in which Howard tells the doctor that he killed his wife and that he also went overboard with his drinking during today's morning," records state.

Investigators believe Rudolph shot his wife multiple times with a .38-caliber revolver.

In the kitchen, investigators found a bottle of Southern Comfort, as well as the gun, which had a note underneath it.

". . .[The note] read something to the effect of 'I do love her, money goes to shelter, she is so hateful, I can't stand her any longer,'" the probable-cause statement says.

Rudolph admitted to writing that note, says the Sheriff's Office.

While Rudolph was booked into jail on a charge of first-degree murder, court documents indicate that the evidence hasn't been completely processed.

It seems like quite a different case from the 2012 "mercy killing" in Sun City, in which a man named George Sanders killed his wife -- apparently at her insistence -- due to her fear that she was going to die in a nursing home for a variety of ailments. Although Sanders was initially booked on a first-degree murder charge, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and was sentenced to probation.

Rudolph's bond has been set at $750,000.

howard-rudolph.jpg
MCSO
Howard Rudolph

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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23 comments
IdontRecall
IdontRecall

"Maricopa County Sheriff deputies initially proposed that it could've been a mercy killing..." anything 4 excusing the actions of a Sun City resident and possibly a CLOWN SHURF's supporter/donator. Fortunately this murder came to the D public's knowledge, otherwise , probably the OLD FART could've swept it under the rug , thus the killer would've been able 2 keep on donating mo' money 2 keep D shurf safe.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

As Ava walks off  into the sunset muttering "Dang!  If only......   He's Nuts and REALLY pisses me off!  I can't stand him!  And ENOUGH with the beenie weenies!"

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

The story about an MCSO detention officer being gunned down in front of his home near 91st Ave. and Lower Buckeye hasn't hit PNT yet, but here's what I'm thinking. Could this be a gang hit? Could the jail deputy have been a member of a rival gang? Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. A random act of violence? Phooey.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

He's connected to an oxygen bottle. See the hole in his neck? Heavy smoker, no doubt. Heavy drinker as well, in all probability. Mean and nasty old buzzard, I'm sure.

Juan Roque
Juan Roque

I guess when you're 78 divorce is too much work. Now he gets three hots and a cot.

Trudy Vick Phillips
Trudy Vick Phillips

Please don't judge him- he or she or both could have/had dementia or other age related mental problems.

marcy
marcy

Howard is a big fan of Joe Arpaio

shadeaux14
shadeaux14 topcommenter

Souther Comfort and a .38. How uniquely Arizona.

yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

@IdontRecall The old fella was charged with 1st degree murder by those same deputies, prior to the release of information that Hendley received from that same Office you are attempting throw mud at. 

What's fortunate is your uneducated/ lazy choice of prose coincides with the validity of your arguments.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@IdontRecall  

When did you retire from rocket science?  This only came to "D" public's knowledge after the Sheriff deputies arrested him.  Did you think Matthew was clairvoyant?

 

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@eric.nelson745  My first reaction was also a jail gang hit of a detention officer but my thought was that it was because the DO wouldn't look the other way or otherwise give in to the gang.  I hope I'm right and not you as for the motive, but as I said in the other article, that would mark an incredibly brazen and dangerous escalation if jail and/or prison gangs are targetting DOs outside the wire.

yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

@eric.nelson745 The fallen DO was an Iraq War vet.  He was a father of a small child and had a wife. 

Your assumptions have racist overtones.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@eric.nelson745 I never noticed the hole in Arpaio's neck!  Thanks for pointing it out!

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@marcy What makes you say that?  (not that I'm agreeing or disagreeing, just curious)

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@eric.nelson745  Let me further clarify.... I hope I'm right and not you as for the motive because your motive would really suck - a DO involved in gang activity inside the wire would be really bad.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@valleynative @shadeaux14 About the word "unique." It means "one of a kind, incomparable." That definition could apply to AZ. But I digress. There are no gradations of uniqueness. Something is either unique or it's not. It is impossible to be more unique, less unique or most unique. I wish people would get that through their heads.

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