‘Black Widows’ Guilty Of Murder Conspiracy
LOS ANGELES – Two elderly women accused of killing two homeless men to collect millions of dollars in insurance payouts were convicted Wednesday of conspiracy to murder, and one of them was convicted of the murders themselves.
In an unusual step, the jury was to hear more arguments Thursday before deciding remaining counts in the case against Helen Golay, 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75. The judge decided to take five initial verdicts.
Golay was convicted of the first-degree murders of Kenneth McDavid, 50, in 2005 and Paul Vados, 73, in 1999. She was also convicted of the conspiracy counts in both killings.
Rutterschmidt was convicted of conspiracy to murder McDavid for financial gain.
The judge ordered the prosecution and Rutterschmidt’s defense to present new arguments on two counts that Rutterschmidt murdered McDavid and Vados, and a conspiracy count involving Vados.
Prosecutors said the women collected $2.8 million from insurance policies on the lives of two homeless men who were killed in staged hit-and-runs. Golay’s convictions carry potential sentences of life in prison without possibility of parole. The single conspiracy count returned against Rutterschmidt carries a sentence of 25 years to life.
Jurors’ struggles on some counts became evident Tuesday when they handed in some sealed verdicts and continued deliberating. On Wednesday, the panel asked for readings of testimony by three witnesses and a laptop to review DVDs entered in evidence.
The women showed no reaction to the verdicts. Golay sat with her head close to her attorney and read along as the court clerk went through the charges. “Basically the ladies did not do very well today,” Roger Jon Diamond, the attorney for Golay, said afterward. Rutterschmidt’s attorney did not comment. Prosecutors said the women recruited their prey from among the homeless of Hollywood, invested thousands of dollars in insurance policies on them and in putting them up in apartments, then drugged them and ran them over in secluded alleys.