Le Chrysalis Remembers Earlene Rudolph
Son says mom's death was not a mercy killing
SUN CITY, AZ (CBS5) -
August 16, 2013
David Engle ‘s 73-year-old mother was shot to death last week in her Sun City home – and, he said, there was nothing merciful about her killing.
He told CBS5 News he hadn't seen his mother, Earlene Rudolph, in two years because he lives in Hawaii.
However, he said he kept in touch with her over the phone and believes his stepfather killed her in an act of "cold-blooded murder."
"My mother was the best mother in the entire world," said Engle through his tears. "She was the most fun-loving, caring woman and grandmother that you could ever have."
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 78-year-old Howard Rudolph shot his wife of 13 years multiple times on Aug. 7.
"I believe she was killed out of anger, hatred, alcohol and a cowardly decision," Engle said.
Court documents show deputies found a bottle of Southern Comfort in the kitchen and a note under a gun that 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."
"He (Rudolph) said that she was ill and that he wanted to kill her and he killed her," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
According to the Phoenix Fire Department, 17 calls were made to 911 in the five weeks before Earlene Rudolph's death.
Neighbors also said they had seen ambulances at the couple's home on Saratoga Circle several times in recent weeks.
But Engle said, to his knowledge, his mother was not in poor health.
"(He) shot her with a 38-caliber handgun through her face - came out her throat into her chest and shot her three more times in the chest," Engle said. "That's coward spelled with a capital C. Then he was supposed to do it to himself, too, but he chickened out."
Howard Rudolph is charged with second-degree murder and is being held in the Lower Buckeye Jail.
Cops: Arizona murder suspect found dead in apparent suicide
CBS AFFILIATE KPHO
PHOENIX - Howard Rudolph, a 79-year-old murder suspect who disappeared after removing his ankle bracelet, has been found dead in his car of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, reports CBS affiliate KPHO.
He had been charged with second-degree murder in the August 2013 death of his wife, Earlene.
Rudolph's body was found inside his 2006 white Lincoln Town Car on Tuesday in a parking lot of the Lake Pleasant Village Apartments in Peoria, Ariz., in Maricopa County. "He was found dead, slumped over the wheel, with a bullet in his chest," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The suspect disappeared on Monday, and Rudolph's stepdaughter Diane Davis told KPHO that she feared he might commit suicide. "I feel like he would get away with it. He wouldn't have to face what he's done," she said.
Rudolph was arrested Aug. 7, 2013 amid indications that his wife's death was a mercy killing. Sheriff's officials cited statements made by Howard Rudolph about Earlene being ill and what he wrote in a note found with a revolver at their home.
Originally, Rudolph was being held on a $750,000 bond, but in February his attorney successfully argued for his release. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office opposed the release, as did his stepdaughter.
Rudolph was to live with friends in Sun City West, according to the station. He was given a strict curfew and had to wear an electronic ankle monitor. However, when the suspect failed to show up for a pretrial hearing on Monday, a warrant was issued for his arrest. His ankle bracelet had reportedly been cut off and was found in a bush.
"I knew he wasn't going to be [at the hearing]," said Davis. "I mean, from the get go, I knew he would not face what he's done. He's a coward."
Arpaio told KPHO that detectives used information from Rudolph's discarded ankle monitor to determine his location, leading them to the dead body. He said data from the bracelet showed the suspect had been in the area within the past 10 days.
It is unclear if Rudolph had help removing the ankle bracelet, or if he knew anyone at the apartment complex where he was found. Authorities are investigating.