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Judge denies certain evidence in case of Lawrence Rudolph, the Pittsburgh-area dentist accused of killing wife

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Lawrence Rudolph, the former dentist from Greensburg accused of killing his wife on an African safari, has won a court battle.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports a judge ruled against prosecutors who wanted to introduce evidence that Rudolph shot off part of his thumb on another safari years earlier.

Prosecutors say Rudolph collected $3.5 million in disability insurance after claiming that a crocodile bit off his thumb. 

Prosecutors argued that the incident would show Rudolph's alleged intent to kill his wife for money. But the judge ruled prosecutors can't introduce the thumb evidence because it might unfairly prejudice jurors against Rudolph or confuse them.

Rudolph is set to go to trial in federal court next month.

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