Lawyer Blames Defendant’s Daughter in Murder-for-Profit Trial in Los Angeles

April 9, 2008

A lawyer for one of two elderly women accused of killing two transient men for insurance money told jurors that his client’s daughter ran over one victim and the mother had nothing to do with it.

“Who murdered (Kenneth) McDavid?” attorney Roger Jon Diamond asked in his opening statement in Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt’s trial. “There is one answer to who did this dastardly act: Kecia Golay, Helen Golay’s daughter.”

Helen Golay, 77, and Rutterschmidt, 75, each have pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder for financial gain in the deaths of 73-year-old Paul Vados in 1999 and 51-year-old Kenneth McDavid in 2005. Kecia Golay is not charged in the case.

Prosecutors contend the elderly women befriended the two homeless men and took out large insurance policies on their lives, then drugged them and ran them over to make it look as if the men had been killed in hit-and-run accidents.

Diamond, who represents Helen Golay, alleged that her 40-year-old daughter arranged for the purchase of the car that struck McDavid, using a driver’s license stolen from a woman at a health club where Kecia Golay had a membership.

“Helen Golay is a little old lady who could not have done what is alleged in this case,” her attorney said.

He said she lacked the physical ability “to lift a man 6 feet tall and put him in the road to be run over.”

“Kecia Golay was a member of the Spectrum Club, worked out and was in good shape,” he said.

Diamond noted that evidence previously presented showed that the car that hit McDavid broke down and had to be towed. He pointed out that the tow truck operator already testified that the woman who called for help was about 40 and that he was unable to identify Helen Golay in court as the woman he met that night.

“The evidence will show it was Kecia Golay — she is the one that drove over Mr. McDavid and killed him,” Diamond said.

Prosecutors repeatedly objected that Diamond was presenting the equivalent of a final argument, and the judge told him to stick to outlining new evidence. Diamond had deferred his opening statement until he started presenting his case.

With jurors and Kecia Golay absent from the courtroom, Diamond outlined a defense that adds another bizarre twist to an already strange trial. He said Helen Golay’s daughter had “intense hatred for her mother.”

“She acts bizarrely … They fight back and forth and sue each other,” Diamond said.

Kecia Golay has attended previous proceedings in which she wept as she looked at her mother. Attempts to reach her for comment were not successful; she has no phone listing and it is not clear whether she has a lawyer.

Diamond told Superior Court Judge David Wesley he had no plans to call Kecia Golay as a witness because he assumed she would invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Earlier, the prosecution wrapped its case by playing for jurors a 30-minute videotape of Helen Golay and Rutterschmidt talking in a jail holding area. On the tape, Rutterschmidt berated Golay for taking out too many insurance policies on McDavid, arousing the suspicion of authorities.

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