The Daily Scribe

Thought Provoking Issues!

Arsenic and Old Lace . . .

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In a scene reminiscent from the 1944 movie of the same name, which starred Cary Grant, two women were sentenced to life in prison for the death of two indigent men.

In the farcical black comedy, the Brewster’s sister murdered lonely old men by giving them home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, cyanide and just a pinch of strychnine.

It seems as if Olga Rutterschmidt, 75 and Helen Golay, 77, adopted the same premise but modified it by using cars to run over their victims in dark alleys.

Both were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for financial gain.

Paul Vados, 73, was run over in 1999, and Kenneth McDavid, 50 suffered a similar fate in 2005.

In April the women were convicted of an insurance fraud scheme that netted them $2.8 million before it was uncovered.

The women befriended homeless men, fatten them up like pigs before the slaughter, took out insurance policies on them and then staged their murders to resemble hit-and-run auto accidents.

Superior Court Judge David Wesley denounced the women, saying that the men needed only food, water and shelter.

“Instead, these unfortunate men were sacrificed on your altar of greed,” Wesley said.

The jury that convicted the women had been shown a secretly recorded videotape of the defendants in lockup shortly after their arrests.

On the tape Rutterschmidt chastised Golay, saying that she had raised a red flag by taking out 23 insurance policies.

“It’s your fault,” Rutterschmidt berated Golay. “You can’t have that many insurance. . . . You were greedy. That’s the problem.”

Golay’s lawyer, Roger Jon Diamond, requested a new trial on the grounds that the videotaped conversation was illegally obtained and was therefore inadmissible as evidence.  Judge Wesley denied the motion.

“I want to know why my father’s life had to end like this,” said Stella Vados, daughter of Paul Vados. “He didn’t deserve that. No one does.”

The judge on Tuesday sentenced both women to two consecutive life terms each without the possibility of parole.

“This is tantamount to the death penalty,” said Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented the daughter of Paul Vados and the sister of Kenneth McDavid. “They will die in prison. I think that’s a just sentence.”

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author


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