Two Again Denied Bail in Deaths of Homeless Men

Times Staff Writer

Two women charged with fraudulently cashing $2.7 million in life insurance claims in the mysterious deaths of two Los Angeles homeless men lost their second request for bail Wednesday.

Helen Golay, 75, and Olga Rutterschmidt, 72, who have pleaded not guilty, will remain in jail without bail, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey W. Johnson ruled. He said prosecutors had "clearly established probable cause that these defendants engaged in murder" and are therefore a danger to the community.

Authorities have said that Golay and Rutterschmidt are suspects in the 2005 death of Kenneth McDavid and the 1999 death of Paul Vados. The women allegedly took out 19 life insurance policies on the men and filed claims after McDavid and Vados died in hit-and-run pedestrian accidents. The women were arrested in May.

"The court has reconsidered its order, and it will stand," Johnson said.

Johnson did approve Golay's request to be transferred from San Bernardino to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, where Rutterschmidt is being housed.

Authorities decided shortly after their arrests that they should be housed in separate facilities. But Golay's lawyer, Roger Jon Diamond, argued that San Bernardino was not centrally located.

The women will remain in separate units and are banned from contact with each other.

Deputy Federal Public Defender Kim Savo, who is representing Rutterschmidt, argued that her client should be released on bail since she lacked a passport or the money to flee.

But prosecutors said Rutterschmidt had told officers multiple times, "If I had a passport, I would run."

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