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2nd conviction in 'Black Widows' trial

April 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Defense attorneys are promising appeals after a jury convicted two elderly women in an elaborate murder-for-profit scheme, and it's not over yet. The jury may hand down more convictions against one of the defendants. A Los Angeles jury has found Olga Rutterschmidt guilty of murder of a homeless man in an insurance scheme but is deadlocked on another murder count and a conspiracy count.

The 75-year-old Rutterschmidt was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder of Kenneth McDavid after hearing a new round of closing arguments by attorneys.

The judge has replaced one juror with an alternate and ordered the panel to reconvene on Monday to try to decide the other two counts involving victim Paul Vados. The replacement came after one juror said he had preplanned travel and could not serve any more days.

Because of the replacement the jury must start all over on its talks about the last two counts.

Rutterschmidt's 77-year-old co-defendant Helen Golay was convicted earlier of all counts - two murders and two counts of conspiring to commit murder for financial gain.

The two are accused of befriending two homeless men then taking out life insurance policies and killing both of them by running over them with a car. According to prosecutors, the women collected nearly $3 million in the policies.

"Well naturally we would have preferred to win today, but that can't always be the case. But we think we raised a lot of issues. We were hoping the jury would see it our way. We respect the jury system. The judge did a good job, and now we're just gonna go carrying forward to the appellate court," said Golay's attorney Roger John Diamond.

"These two defendants have been convicted, and they are going to be in prison for the rest of their natural lives. They will die in prison," said Gloria Allred, attorney for the victims' families.

The jury heard new arguments from prosecutors on Thursday against Rutterschmidt to decide the remaining counts against Rutterschmidt. The defense also laid their case one more time. Golay is looking at life without a possibility for parole.

 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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