Greed and Betrayal got lethal
Helen Golay, 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, were convicted of luring men off the streets of Los Angeles whom they took care of for two years before running them over to collect claims.
By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times Staff WriterA Los Angeles judge today sentenced two women to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing homeless men in a coldblooded years-long scheme for $2.8 million in life insurance money.
11:44 AM PDT, July 15, 2008
11:44 AM PDT, July 15, 2008
Helen Golay, 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, grabbed international headlines for their slow-motion murders of two homeless men they lured off the street, housed and cared for for two years, then ran over for life insurance claims. Prosecutors said the women were abusing a law that says insurers cannot contest life policies after two years.
The septuagenarian women were each convicted in April on two counts of murder and conspiracy to murder for financial gain in the killings of Kenneth McDavid, 50, and Paul Vados, 73. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, a move experts said was because the elderly women would most likely die in prison during the lengthy appeals process.
Superior Court Judge David S. Wesley denied a motion for new trial filed by Roger Diamond, Golay's attorney, who alleged, among other things, misconduct by Rutterschmidt's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Sklar.
In closing arguments, Sklar blamed the murders on Golay, saying the evidence clearly showed she was the mastermind and kept Rutterschmidt in the dark about her intention to run over the men. Diamond also shifted his defense to point the finger at Rutterschmidt, leaving the two women accusing each other.
In 1999, Vados, the first victim, was found dead in a Hollywood alley in an apparent hit-and-run accident, after which the women collected about $600,000 in insurance claims. Authorities got suspicious when the same two women claimed the body and profited from the 2005 death of McDavid, whose mangled body showed the same upper-body injuries as Vados.
Authorities found McDavid's DNA in the undercarriage of a 1999 Mercury Sable station wagon, which someone using Golay's auto club membership had towed on the night of McDavid's death in Westwood.
Golay, a Texas native who owns real estate in Santa Monica, and Rutterschmidt, a Hungarian immigrant who once owned a coffee shop with her husband, were initially arrested in 2006 for insurance fraud while prosecutors worked toward filing murder charges.
Prosecutors used as a key piece of evidence a surreptitiously recorded conversation between the two women on the day of their arrest, in which the two women discuss money and suing insurance companies, but not murder.
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Visited Jul 15, 2008