Doctor, lover suspected in deaths of two late wives

Widower was subject of 2010 TV program that delved into bizarre coincidences in women’s deaths.

Handcuffs arrest police crime illustrative 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Handcuffs arrest police crime illustrative 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Police have arrested an anesthesiologist and her lover on suspicion that they conspired to murder two of the latter’s wives, both of whom died under mysterious circumstances.
The Monday arrest of the 45-year-old doctor, a resident of the Sharon region, followed a lengthy investigation by the YAMAR central investigative unit into the death of Gini Cooper, who died on August 21, 2009. Cooper’s husband – who was arrested on Tuesday and whose name was not cleared for publication – had previously been married to Orit Coopershmid, who died on January 1, 1994.
Both deaths were ruled to have been natural.
Police said Tuesday that they were examining whether the husband had played a role in the alleged conspiracy.
In the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court the same day, police presented the state with a request to charge the doctor with premeditated manslaughter and conspiracy to commit a crime in the case of Cooper. The court extended her remand until Thursday, and as of Tuesday afternoon the second suspect’s hearing was still ongoing.
The doctor has denied all the charges against her.
The husband was the subject of a 30-minute segment on the investigative news program Uvda in March 2010, which highlighted what it said was a series of bizarre coincidences in the deaths of the two women.
In addition, the program interviewed a third woman it said had once been married to the suspect. With her face blurred, she described troubling aspects of their relationship and her hope that “he gets what he deserves.”
The program spoke with the families of Cooper and Coopershmid, who described almost identical incidents in the two women’s married lives.
Cooper’s daughters told interviewers that shortly before their mother’s death her husband had convinced her to sign a will saying that all of her belongings would go to him, while her daughters would receive only one shekel each. The program also alleged that the husband had convinced Cooper to have her parents sign over their house to her shortly before she died at age 44.
In addition, her friends and family reported her saying she had begun taking pills that her husband had given her without a prescription.
The couple had been featured on a home-renovation program called Avodat Bayit six years before Cooper’s death, in which their house on Kibbutz Eyal received a makeover. Uvda alleged that the suspect had led a campaign against the kibbutz after he was denied membership – largely after lies were found on his resume, including the fact that he gave lectures on his experiences as a prisoner of war even though there is no record of an IDF soldier with his name who was a POW.
The program described a similar chain of events with the suspect’s first wife, Coopershmid, who died of an overdose of pills – shortly after she signed over her belongings to him in her will.
In the cases of both women, the suspect reportedly moved out the day after the shiva mourning period had ended and began living with a woman with whom he had been having an affair during the marriage – a different woman each time.
The suspect refused to be interviewed for the program and reportedly threatened to sue its producers for libel after it was aired.