Shimon Cooper in court.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
A serial killer convicted of murdering two of his ex-wives with a lethal combination of pills was sentenced Sunday to two life sentences in prison.
The High Court of Justice sentenced Shimon Cooper, 55, for the 1994 murder of his first wife, Orit Cooperschmidt, and the 2009 killing of his third wife, Jenny Mor-Haim.
Cooper is also believed to have tried to kill his second wife, referred to as “S” under a gag order, but was never indicted in that attempted murder.
The Kibbutz Eyal resident is also suspected of killing his mother, but no charges have yet been filed in that investigation.
In addition to the jail time, the court ordered Cooper to pay NIS 258,000 in reparations to the both of his victims’ surviving family.
In late June, the Lod District Court convicted Cooper of murdering the two women.
Cooper might have escaped justice if not for a Channel 2 program on March 25, 2010.
Police had closed the Cooper case, believing both women committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. But the TV station broadcast “Uvda” (“Fact”) about the murders caused a public uproar, and eventually led to a reopening of the investigation and an indictment.
A web of lies, scams and a fictional story about a Mossad hit overseas were at the core of the case. With a haze surrounding the facts, even the original indictment was substantially incomplete, only referencing Cooper’s murder of his third wife, Jenny.
That indictment alleged that Cooper was a serial conman who seduced and married his third wife, and then murdered her on the night of August 20-21, 2009 by injecting her with a fatal cocktail of tranquilizers.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Mariah Zakotsky, Cooper’s accomplice and alleged lover, was arrested in 2012 under suspicion of providing her paramour with the drugs he used to kill Jenny.
Cooper had told Jenny that he worked in a secret capacity for the Israeli security establishment. Using that cover, he would disappear for days at a time.
According to police, during the investigation Zakotsky admitted that Cooper had pulled the same ruse with her, and that she supplied him with tranquilizers after he told her he needed them to carry out an assassination for the Mossad in an undisclosed foreign country.
Cooper met Zakotsky in 2006 and started a relationship with her, while still married to Jenny.
Step by step, he took legal steps ensuring he would inherit his wife’s assets upon her death. He got Jenny to amend her will and bequeath him her property even though she was only in her mid-40s and in good health, said the indictment.
On March 19, 2013, the Central District Attorney’s Office filed a request to amend its indictment against the serial conman and add a charge of murdering his first wife, Orit Cooperschmidt, to go along with the murder charges regarding his third wife.