Former Playboy Bunny Hired Hit Man To Kill Her Gunslinging Wild West Performer Husband

Carole Gold and her son were thrown in jail for the murder of Charles “Black Bart” Gold.

February 14, 2023
Chuck Gold [left] was murdered by a hit man hired by his wife, Carole Gold [right].

Carole Gold and her son were thrown in jail for the 1992 murder of Charles “Black Bart” Gold.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Playboy Murders")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Playboy Murders")

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A Wild West show performer was murdered after his Playboy bunny wife and stepson hired a hit man to ambush him in the family’s Arizona home.

Charles “Chuck” Gold made a name for himself as an actor who played a villainous gunfighter always dressed head to toe in black. His character, Black Bart, was famous for getting into staged showdowns with the good guys at rodeos, Western-theme restaurants and other events and venues.

In 1992, Charles returned from a convention to his Phoenix home, where a man named Dan Goddard was lying in wait behind a wall with a gun fitted with a homemade silencer, according to the Associated Press.

The hired assassin shot the 51-year-old performer eight times, including once between the eyes, in the victim’s kitchen.

Chuck and his wife, Carole Gold, first met at a Playboy resort in 1978 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where Carole was a bunny and Chuck manned the stables, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The couple eventually married and then moved west to Arizona, where they operated a stable.

An investigation into the slaying determined Carole and her son from another relationship, Kenneth Ashton Cottini, arranged Chuck’s murder for hire in an attempt to take over the horse stables and cash in on his $150,000 life insurance policy.

According to the Sentinel, prosecutors claimed Cottini and his stepfather were often disagreeing, especially over Cottini’s drug use. As the pair’s relationship deteriorated, prosecutors said, Carole was also having issues in her marriage and agreed to fund the hit on her husband for a reported $25,000.

On the stand, Cottini’s drug dealer, Robert Pryor, testified the mother and son approached him about finding a hit man to kill Chuck, and he was responsible for hiring Goddard.

In October 1997, Carole, then 58, received a sentence of life in prison after she was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy. At her sentencing hearing, she insisted she “had nothing to do with this crime” and “always loved Charles Gold,” according to the AP.

The victim’s daughter, Stephanie Gold, said in a statement read to the court at Carole’s sentencing: “Those eight shots did more than kill my father. You took my family. You took Grandma’s son. For that reason alone, I hope you burn in hell.”

Carole’s son pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge and received a minimum sentence of 18 years behind bars.

For his part in the scheme, Pryor took a similar deal and was ordered to serve 20 years in prison.

The hired hit man, Goddard, reportedly received immunity for testifying against the three other defendants in the case.

For more on this case, stream The Playboy Murders: “Black Bart and the Bunny” on discovery+.

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