Carole Gold was one of the first Playboy Bunnies. She hired an assassin to kill her husband.

On October 20, 1992, the Phoenix Police Department received an emergency call at 10:30pm. Carole Gold was on the other line – she was distressed, claiming her husband had been killed.

When police arrived at her home, they found Chuck Gold – a Wild West performer who went by the stage name Black Bart – lying dead in the kitchen. 

He had been shot eight times, with the bullet between his eyes killing him. He died dressed in character, with his pistol on him.

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Video via iD.

Carole Gold was one of the original Playboy Bunnies.

She started working for the magazine in the 1960s, and was involved in designing the original Playboy Bunny costume before becoming a bunny herself. 

Former Playboy model Holly Madison called her "one of the pioneers".

Carole and Chuck were childhood friends who reunited after her first husband died in a riding accident. They started dating in 1977 and married a year later in Las Vegas. 


Following Carole's time as a Playboy Bunny, the couple moved from Wisconsin to Arizona and opened a horse stable together at a hotel resort. It was successful year-round with wealthy hotel guests.

Chuck also performed his gun fighting reenactment troupe at high-end hotels, Western-themed restaurants and rodeos in the area.

He was known as "Black Bart", with his bushy moustache and black ensemble, and would often play the role even when he wasn't performing. 

Chuck Gold as Black Bart. Image: iD.


"Carole was really good for my father. They shared a great dynamic and did all kinds of stuff together," Chuck's daughter, Stephanie Gold, said.

On October 20, 1992, Carole went out to dinner with her daughter from her previous marriage, and then back to her place to watch some movies.

Chuck went to a conference, before calling his wife to tell her he was on his way home. According to reports, Carole drove home after the call and found her husband dead in the kitchen. 

While there were no signs of a break-in at the crime scene, one of the back doors was unlocked.

During their interview with Carole, police learned that Chuck had been cheating on his wife. 

Stephanie Gold argued that Carole had been cheating on him too, and they both knew of each other's infidelity. 

"[It] was part of their dynamic," she said.

Police also learned that Chuck didn't get along with his stepson, Kenneth Cottini, then 22. Kenneth lived with Chuck and Carole. He was spoiled, often refused to work or go to school, and when he got in trouble, his mother always defended him.

Kenneth became addicted to Nubain, a synthetic and expensive form of heroin, after a friend introduced him to the drug. Carole would supposedly pay for it.


Chuck and Kenneth would fight often about his addiction – at one point, it got so bad Chuck threatened to kick his stepson out.

During their investigation, police discovered that Kenneth had contacted his drug dealer, Robert, asking for a hitman.

He hated Chuck and had asked Robert to find someone to kill him. There were claims that Carole agreed to pay for the hit.

On October 15, 1997, five years after the crime took place, Carole Gold, was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder and conspiracy.

"I had nothing to do with this crime," Carole, then 58, said in a soft voice. "I always loved Chuck Gold."

The hired hitman, Dan Goddard, testified that he committed the act at the request of the mother-son duo, who were after Chuck's $150,000 life insurance policy and full control of the horse stables.

Image: iD.


Kenneth pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, with his defence counsel labelling him as the “messenger boy”. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison in October 1997.

His drug dealer, Robert, also cut a deal and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The hitman was granted immunity for testifying in court.

Stephanie Gold said she was satisfied with a sentence she waited five years for.

"Those eight shots did more than kill my father. You took my family," she said in a statement read in court. 

"I hope you burn in hell."

Feature image: iD.

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