Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The Supreme Court of California "upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Helen Golay, one of two septuagenarian women who staged hit-and-run killings of two homeless men in order to collect on their life insurance policies." Golay and a co-defendant, Olga Rutterschmidt, managed to insure the lives of two homeless men, Kenneth McDavid and Paul Vados, who they claimed were relatives or fiancées. The two men apparently died as the result of hit-and-run accidents. By the end of the affair, the women earned about $2.8 million in insurance benefits.
Golay challenged her conviction on the basis that she was not allowed to confront all of the witnesses against her. The court rejected her claims arguing that "the admission of expert testimony regarding forensic evidence where the expert who testified was not the one who performed the underlying analysis" did not violate the Confrontation Clause. The court explained that because the director who testified at the trial supervised the analysts who performed the drug tests, was qualified to interpret the results, and offered live testimony that could be cross-examined there was no Confrontation Clause violation.
See Kenneth Ofgang, Supreme Court Upholds Conviction of Septuagenarian Murderess, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Oct. 16, 2012.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.