A 79-year-old Arizona man accused of fatally shooting his wife in an apparent mercy killing on Sunday cut off an electronic monitoring bracelet and fled, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
An arrest warrant was issued for Howard Allen Rudolph of Sun City, Ariz., on Monday for violating the conditions of his release from jail, which included home monitoring, The Arizona Republic reported.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement late Tuesday he does not believe the community is in danger but fears what Rudolph might do to himself.
Rudolph was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife Earlene, 73, at their home in a Phoenix retirement complex last August.
According to sheriff’s officials, statements made by Rudolph on the day of his arrest as well as a note found with a revolver at the home indicated it was a mercy killing.
Rudolph remained at large on Tuesday afternoon. He could be driving a white 2006 Lincoln Town Car with the Arizona license plate BER-4316, the sheriff said.
Arpaio, who bills himself as “America’s toughest sheriff” but has attracted controversy for alleged racial profiling of Latinos, used the opportunity to criticize electronic monitoring rather than jail as a way to keep track of defendants.
“The fact that a frail 79-year-old man can manage to cut off the device and flee from authorities underscores how easy it is for anyone to escape an electronic monitor,” the sheriff said in a statement.
“I understand that the courts feel the alternative of electronic monitoring relieves some of the financial burden of incarceration but money isn’t the only thing that matters in the criminal justice system – the safety of our citizens should matter more and that’s precisely why I have opposed home monitoring of convicted criminals. There will always be room in my jails,” he said.
— Jeff Black