Man charged for murder of 1st wife and 3rd wife

State adds charge for murdering 1st wife to indictment of serial con-man for murdering for 3rd wife; drops charges on 2nd wife.

New Lod District Court 370 (photo credit: Yonah Jeremy Bob)
New Lod District Court 370
(photo credit: Yonah Jeremy Bob)
The Central District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed a request to amend its indictment against alleged serial con man Shimon Cooper to add a charge of murdering his first wife to go along with the murder charges regarding his third wife..
The amended indictment, including for the first time definitive charges against Cooper for the murder of Orit Cooperschmidt, was filed in the Lod District Court.
A web of lies, scams and a fictional story about a Mossad hit overseas are at the center of the case, initially filed in November.
The new charges arise from additional investigative activities that shed new light on Cooper’s alleged method of operation in general, and regarding his first wife in particular.
According to the new charges, Cooper murdered Orit (the prosecution is still unclear how) and then set up a scene to make it look like she had committed suicide by overdosing.
Cooper then allegedly called family members and police and covered his tracks by being the person to notify everyone.
In the original indictment, the Central District Attorney’s Office alleged that the 51-year-old Cooper was a serial con man who seduced and married his third wife, Jenny Cooper, before murdering her during the night of August 20-21, 2009.
Cooper allegedly accomplished the murder by injecting Jenny with an overdose of tranquilizers, the exact identity of which are still under gag order, said the indictment.
Police had hypothesized in November that Cooper might have also orchestrated the death of his first wife, Orit Cooperschmidt.
Cooper married Orit in 1983, said the indictment.
The indictment said that shortly before Orit died, Cooper told her family members that she was suffering from depression.
Orit died in very similar circumstances to Jenny in January 1994.
Orit was found with an assortment of bottles of what appeared to be drugs that she had swallowed near her, said the indictment.
However, the autopsy found that the drug levels in her body could not have caused her death on their own, noted the indictment, and her cause of death was left as unknown.
In the original indictment, Cooper was also believed to have tried to kill his second wife, referred to as S under a gag order, using the same methods.
Cooper’s relationship with S started in 1992, when he was still married to Orit, the original indictment said.
When S learned that Cooper had told her family that she was suffering from depression and had convinced her parents to name him in their will instead of her, noted the original indictment, she divorced him.
While the original indictment alleged that S found drugs which neither she nor he had been using, but could be used to cause or fake an overdose death in their bedroom, the amended indictment has dropped this part of the narrative, ostensibly due to a lack of evidence.
In late October 2012, police arrested Cooper on suspicion of orchestrating the murder of two of his ex-wives. Anesthesiologist Dr. Mariah Zakotsky, an accomplice and alleged lover of Cooper’s, was also arrested, and is suspected of providing Cooper with tranquilizers which he used to kill his ex-wife.
The court previously lifted most of an earlier gag order on the investigation, allowing the publication of details of a case that appears to more closely resemble a movie script than a murder indictment.
Cooper met his ex-wife, Jenny, in 1999, the indictment alleged. After a short time dating, Cooper and his sons Adi and Beni, from his first marriage, moved in with Jenny and her two daughters on a kibbutz, according to the indictment.
Cooper had long told his ex-wife, Jenny, that he worked in a top secret capacity for the Israeli security establishment, as a cover for the times he’d disappear for days at a time, said the indictment.
According to police, during the investigation Zakotsky admitted that Cooper 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 location outside Israel.
According to the indictment, the age and weight of the man Cooper described to Zakotsky matched substantially with Jenny’s physiological characteristics.
Cooper met Zakotsky in 2006 and started a relationship with her, while still with Jenny, said the indictment.
The indictment alleged that little by little, Cooper took legal steps to ensure he would possess all rights to Jenny’s assets if she died.
He undertook these actions even though Jenny was only in her mid-40s and in good health, said the indictment.
In 2008, Cooper also convinced Jenny’s parents to put ownership of their house in Jaffa in Jenny’s name, noted the indictment, while not revealing to them that he was sole heir to Jenny’s estate.
According to the indictment, immediately after the seven days of mourning for Jenny were over, Zakotsky moved in with Cooper into the house that he had been living in with Jenny.
In March 2010, Cooper was the subject of a 30-minute segment on the investigative news program Uvda, which detailed the mysterious circumstances which led to the deaths of Cooper’s ex-wives.
The program appeared to infer that Cooper murdered two of his ex-wives in order to inherit their property, and in both cases wove the same web of lies about his classified work with the Israel security establishment and portrayed both wives as suffering from severe depression up until their sudden deaths.
The amended indictment fills in the picture regarding Cooper’s first wife.
The state said that Cooper would not be prejudiced by allowing the state to amend the indictment, because it had filed the amended indictment before Cooper had responded to the original one and before a hearing on whether to detain Cooper until the end of the proceedings.