One of the first women to ever be associated with the Playboy Mansion has been released from prison after she was found guilty for her role in her husband’s murder.
In 1997, Carole Gold was sentenced to life in prison after she was found guilty for first-degree murder and conspiracy over the shooting of her second husband, Chuck Gold, 51.
The case is covered in The Playboy Murders, a six part documentary by Investigation Discovery hosted by former Bunny Holly Madison.
The now 84-year-old was released from the Perryville prison in Arizona on August 31, according to AZ Central, but details of her release have only just been made public.
In October 1992, five years before her sentencing, police were called to Chuck’s home in Phoenix by his wife.
He’d been shot multiple times, including once between the eyes.
“Carole Gold was 53 years old when her husband Chuck was found brutally murdered,” Madison said during the documentary.
“It’s a dramatic turn in the life of a woman who, just decades ago, was on a different path working as a Playboy Bunny.”
She said Gold signed on in the early 1960s, when the magazine still looked relatively homemade and didn’t have the gloss people came to associate it with.
Hailing from Chicago, she started her career as a model before a friend introduced her to HMH Publishing, which Hugh Hefner created to publish Playboy, at 15.
Diana Peterson Feraco, a fellow 1960s Playboy Bunny, said the era she and Gold worked meant that the women made great money, saying it was “life-changing”.
Gold had brushes with fame, like Frank Sinatra, and worked at the Playboy Mansion for five years while also working as an eighth grade teacher during the day.
She left after meeting her first husband, but he died in a horse riding accident leaving her a widow with a daughter, Alison, and son Ashton.
It was then she reconnected with Chuck, who had two children of his own, and the pair married in 1977.
The couple then opened up their own horse stable at the Playboy Bunny Ski Lodge in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, before moving to Arizona.
It was there that they began to run a gun fight show where Chuck would play Black Bart, a gunslinger from the 1800s, while Gold was the woman in charge of the money.
On the day of his murder, Chuck had come home from one such show. A hit man had been hiding in the house and shot him while he was in the kitchen, finishing him off with the shot between his eyes as Chuck reached for his own weapon.
Gold came home at 10.30pm, finding her husband dead, and called emergency services, who became suspicious after there were no signs of a break in and the back door was unlocked and nothing in the home was disturbed.
When interviewed, Gold said her relationship with her husband of 14 years was good, but he’d had affairs in the past.
It also came to light that Ashton, Gold’s son, owed people money for drugs and had been kicked out of the house, while Gold’s grandson had also clashed with Chuck.
Insurance companies also revealed there was a $150k accidental death policy on Chuck, and Gold was confronted over it but said she knew nothing about it.
More information came forward, and eventually a drug dealer admitted he was paid $9k to take part in the plot and help find a hit man, revealing that Gold was the mastermind due to fears she was about to be divorced.
It allegedly wasn’t the first time Gold and her son had tried to kill Chuck, with claims they had put rat poison in his food.
Ashton and the hit man were charged, but Gold was released, and the trial against the two men was declared a mistrial.
Five years after Chuck was killed, in 1997, Gold and Ashton were charged when new information came to light and Ashton – who’s full name is Kenneth Ashton Cottini – pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 18 years in prison, while Gold was eventually sentenced to life for killing her husband to get hold of their stable and his insurance money.
“I had nothing to do with this crime,” the-then 58-year-old said at her sentencing, according to the Associated Press.
“I have always loved Chuck Gold.”