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LA's 'Black Widows' Get Life In Prison For Murders

•  National News     updated  2008/07/17 08:52


Two elderly women dubbed the "Black Widows" of Los Angeles were sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing two homeless men whom they housed for two years before murdering them in hit-and-run crashes in order to collect $2.8 million in life insurance money.

Helen Golay, 77, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75, were convicted in April of first-degree murder and conspiracy to murder for financial gain in the deaths of Kenneth McDavid, 50, and Paul Vados, 73.

Golay and Rutterschmidt claimed to be aunts, fiancées or cousins of the men on insurance applications, taking out 16 policies for McDavid and three for Vados, for which they acted as beneficiaries. The women had taken out the policies two years before the plotted deaths, purportedly because California law makes life insurance fraud more difficult to contest when a policy has been active for two years.

After running down Vados in a Hollywood alley in 1999, the women collected $600,000 in insurance claims. Authorities grew suspicious when the same two women amassed claims after McDavid was killed in an apparent hit-and-run accident in 2005 and had upper body injuries similar to Vados. Golay used her auto club membership to request the towing of a 1999 Mercury Sable station wagon an hour before McDavid's death. McDavid's DNA was found on the vehicle.

The duo was first arrested in 2006 for insurance fraud. On a secretly recorded videotape made the day of their arrest, Rutterschmidt called Golay "greedy" for taking out so many insurance policies and drawing media attention.

Superior Court Judge David Wesley told the women, "(T)hese unfortunate men were sacrificed on your altar of greed."



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