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Women Plead Not Guilty in Deaths of Transients

Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt are accused of killing men for insurance money.

September 14, 2006|Peter Y. Hong | Times Staff Writer

Two women accused of killing transient men to collect life insurance money pleaded not guilty in Superior Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Helen Golay, 75, of Santa Monica and Olga Rutterschmidt, 73, of Hollywood are accused of murdering Paul Vados, 73, and Kenneth McDavid, 50. Vados was covered by more than a dozen insurance policies when he was hit by a car on La Brea Avenue in 1999. McDavid was covered by 23 policies when he was killed by a car last year in Westwood.

Golay and Rutterschmidt appeared in court dressed in orange jail jumpsuits.

They are to return to court Oct. 5 to set a date for a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to try the pair on murder and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against the women.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner James N. Bianco rejected a challenge by Rutterschmidt's attorney, Michael H. Sklar, to the legal basis of the conspiracy charges against his client.

Bianco also denied a request by Golay's lawyer, Roger Jon Diamond, to allow his client time for personal grooming before appearing in court. Diamond said Golay was not allowed to have tweezers to pluck her eyebrows, nor may she apply makeup. Potential jurors could form an impression based on his client's appearance, he said.

"She is not asking to be treated like a princess, she is asking to be treated as a human being," Diamond said.

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