Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Jewish Elderly Women Kill homeless men for Insurance, Note You never hear this in the news

Were these elderly Jewish women influenced by their Talmudic teaching?

One ‘Black Widow’ defendant convicted of murder
Helen Golay is found guilty of killing two homeless men to cash in on life insurance. Her co-defendant, Olga Rutterschmidt, is convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and still faces murder charges.



By Victoria Kim and Paul Pringle

In a case that has drawn worldwide attention, a 77-year-old woman was convicted today of murdering two homeless men in a chilling, slow-motion plot to collect $2.8 million in life insurance. Her 75-year-old co-defendant was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and the jury was still considering two murder charges and a second conspiracy count against her.

Helen Golay, who was convicted of murder, and Olga Rutterschmidt, found guilty on the conspiracy charge, were accused of plucking Kenneth McDavid and Paul Vados off the streets, putting them up in apartments for two years while the deadline for insurance companies to contest claims ran out, and then having them run over in dark alleys.

Golay faces life in prison without possibility of parole. She buried her face in her hands as the verdicts were read.

Rutterschmidt faces 25 years to life for the conspiracy conviction. She put her chin in her hand and glanced around the courtroom as the jury’s decision was delivered.

From the start, the defendants’ advanced age kept the case in headlines, drawing comparisons to the film “Arsenic and Old Lace.” The killings came to be known as the “Black Widow” murders.

Experts said there was no point in seeking the death penalty against them because they would probably die in prison during the lengthy appeal process. A plea bargain was also out; any prison term would be a life sentence for the women.

After two years in custody, they appeared gray and frail during the trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Prosecutors said Golay, a former Santa Monica real estate agent, and the Hungarian-born Rutterschmidt, a longtime Hollywood resident who once owned a coffee shop with her late husband, targeted the most vulnerable people in society because their deaths would not raise a stir.

Golay and Rutterschmidt had known each other for at least 20 years before their arrests, police and others say. They allegedly were partners in a number of bogus lawsuits and petty crimes before embarking on the murder scheme, authorities say.

A Texas native known for her elaborate hairstyles and youthful dress, Golay fronted the money for the cold-blooded enterprise, and is believed to have pocketed most of the insurance proceeds, which infuriated Rutterschmidt, according to acquaintances and investigators.

No witnesses to either killing came forward, and details about the killings were scant, leaving prosecutors to build a painstaking case based on fragments of testimony and a long paper trail of insurance documents and rent checks.

The death of Vados, 73, in 1999 was particularly mysterious. The crime scene was washed clean in a downpour, and traffic investigators set the killing aside as an unsolved hit-and-run.

Six years later, however, three surveillance cameras caught a silver station wagon turning into a Westwood alley on the night that McDavid, 50, was found dead there. Both men were crushed to death, their bodies twisted, and police said the scenes were free of the skid marks and broken glass typically left in the wake of a hit-and-run.Someone using Golay’s auto club membership called for a tow for the station wagon around the time that McDavid was killed, according to testimony. After the women came under suspicion, authorities tracked the vehicle down, and found McDavid’s DNA on the undercarriage.

Prosecutors said the similarities between the two deaths were too uncanny for mere coincidence. The Los Angeles Police Department concluded that the murders were connected after McDavid’s death when two investigators bumped into each other, compared notes and realized the same pair of odd women had claimed the bodies.

Vados and McDavid were insured for millions by Golay and Rutterschmidt, who claimed to be the cousin and fiance of the deceased.

Jurors also heard damaging statements from the defendants themselves, even though neither took the stand. A conversation at Los Angeles police headquarters immediately after their May 2006 arrests on fraud charges was secretly videotaped, and the recording was played for the jury.

On the 30-minute tape, an animated Rutterschmidt angrily bangs on a table, shakes her finger and accuses Golay of inviting scrutiny by greedily piling on numerous insurance policies.

“…You did all these insurances extra. That’s what raised the suspicion. You can’t do that. Stupidity,” Rutterschmidt tells Golay, who repeatedly admonishes her in a calm voice to be quiet.

“No, you’re going to go to jail, honey. They going to lock you up,” says Rutterschmidt, in a thick accent.

On the recording, the women never mention murder, although they had been notified that they were under investigation for the deaths. Prosecutors argued an innocent person would have expressed shock at the murder allegations.

But Deputy Public Defender Michael Sklar, Rutterschmidt’s attorney, said the conversation showed that his client did not know about the killings. He said Golay kept his simple-minded client in the dark about the murder plot.

Golay’s attorney, Roger Jon Diamond, argued that Rutterschmidt and Golay’s daughter, Kecia, who he said hated her mother, conspired to frame Helen for McDavid’s killing. Kecia was not charged in the case.

Experts said the defendants made the prosecution’s job easier by turning on each other. Attorneys for the women conceded in their closing arguments that McDavid was murdered, but each blamed the other defendant for the killing.

Prosecutors did not say who was or was not driving the cars that killed McDavid and Vados. But they argued that both women, whether they were behind the wheel or aided and abetted the plot, were equally guilty of the murder charge.

Jurors also heard from a man prosecutors said had narrowly escaped the women’s grasp. Jimmy Covington, who was brought down from Northern California to testify, described Rutterschmidt approaching him on the street, when he was homeless, and offering to help.

Although she seemed sincere at first, moving him into an office space and taking him to Burger King, Rutterschmidt asked for more and more personal information and yelled at him when he refused, Covington testified. He left after about a week. By that time, the two women had already requested an application for an $800,000 policy on Covington’s life.

victoria.kim@latimes.com

paul.pringle@latimes.com

No comments:

Post a Comment