Thursday, April 24, 2008



* A jury returned the final two guilty verdicts this week in the case of two California women convicted of befriending homeless men, then murdering them to collect $2.8 million in life insurance.

Helen Louise Golay (far left), 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, are scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for their crimes. Golay is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24 and Rutterschmidt on July 15.

A jury of nine women and three men returned the bulk of the guilty verdicts against the women last Wednesday following a little more than a day of deliberation. Golay was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of murder for financial gain and multiple murders, and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder for financial gain. The jury convicted Rutterschmidt of one of the conspiracy counts, but was unable to reach verdicts on the other three. Jurors told trial Judge David Wesley they needed more argument from both the prosecution and defense to help them decide.

Jurors on Thursday came back with a guilty verdict on one of the murder counts against Rutterschmidt, but were unable to reach verdicts on the other two counts of murder and conspiracy. One of the jurors – a man – was replaced because he had to leave town on a business trip. He was replaced by a male alternate and the judge told jurors to renew the deliberations. Verdicts on the two counts were reached in a half-hour.

Both women were convicted of Paul Vados, 73, who was killed on Nov. 8, 1999. He was run over by an automobile in an alley in the 300 block of Westwood Boulevard in Westwood. It was a hit and run killing.

They also were convicted of murdering Kenneth McDavid, 50, on June 21, 2005, when he was run over by an automobile in an alley in the 1200 block of North La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. It also was a hit and run.

The women provided housing for both victims prior to their deaths. They applied for dozens of insurance policies in the men’s names and were involved in activities relating to the victims after their deaths.

Originally charged with capital murder, the District Attorney’s office later decided to seek life in prison without the possibility of parole for the two women, dubbed by the media during the trial as the “Black Widows.”

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