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Friday, May 10, 2013

Murder LA 000023

by James Cohen

There wasn't much of a case at first when 50-year-old Kenneth McDavid was killed in June 2005. He was found in an alley, the victim of a hit-and-run. With no witnesses and surveillance footage showing only the model of car, a Mercury Sable, an arrest seemed unlikely.

But Ed Webster, an insurance company investigator, had trouble verifying McDavid's information; he didn't seem to live or work where his insurance policy said. And the two women beneficiaries, his fiance and his cousin, were uncooperative. So Webster contacted the LAPD and an undercover officer went with him to meet them individually, septuagenarians Helen Golay, the fiancee, and Olga Rutterschmidt, the cousin. They secretly recording Golay as Webster returned the cost of taking out what was now a cancelled policy.

That was the end of Webster's involvement but the LAPD put surveillance on the two women because it turned out neither was related to McDavid, who was, in fact, homeless. Golay lived in Santa Monica and Rutterschmidt lived on Sycamore in Hollywood, just a couple of blocks from the Chinese Theater.

Purely by luck, while one officer was discussing the oddity of the case, another officer overheard and recalled similarities to the 1999 hit-and-run of another homeless man, Paul Vados. When they checked the beneficiaries on Vados' policy, it was the same two women.

The LAPD had observed them at a homeless outreach program and, concerned they would soon strike again before they could be arrested. So a US attorney told them to go ahead and arrest them on mail fraud charges, since several of the policies they had taken out were submitted via mail.

So the women were arrested on May 18, 2006 and quickly turned to bickering on camera after being left alone. They were convicted two years later of the murders and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.


In other Homicidal Old Person News, a judge decided this week not to release octogenarian Nattie Kennebrew into the custody of his son. Kennebrew, as you may recall, is legally blind and in a wheelchair but still managed to kill his apartment handyman and attacked a fellow inmate in prison. This gave the LA Times the opportunity to run another photo of the apartment manager whom Kennebrew attempted to kill looking sad.