Israeli Man Convicted of Murdering Two of His Wives

Investigation into circumstances of Shimon Cooper’s spouses’ deaths was reopened following television exposé.

Shimon Cooper in court on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
Moti Milrod

A court in central Israel convicted a man on Tuesday of murdering two of his wives.

A three-judge panel at the Lod District Court convicted Shimon Cooper on two counts of murder. Cooper’s first wife, Orit Cooper, died in 1994, and his third wife, Jenny Mor-Haim, died in 2009.

The investigation into Cooper was initially closed due to inability to prove guilt, but was reopened in 2010 after Channel 2 aired an exposé on the two women’s deaths. 

Mor-Haim, the third wife, was found dead in the couple’s home in Kibbutz Eyal. Shimon Cooper himself called the emergency response services. Mor-Haim’s body was surrounded by pills, indicating that she committed suicide. The forensics reports confirmed that she died of a cardiac event.

However, the incident’s eerie similarity to the circumstances of the death of Cooper’s first wife, Orit, 15 years earlier, raised suspicions. Following the Channel 2 exposé and an appeal filed by Mor-Haim’s family in 2010, an undercover investigation was opened into Cooper.

In November 2012, Cooper was charged with murdering Mor-Haim in order to inherit her property. In 2013, the prosecution announced that it is amending the indictment to include the first wife’s murder.

According to the indictment, while Cooper was married to Mor-Haim he had an affair with Maria Zkotsky, a doctor who gave him the tranquilizers he used to murder his third wife. Zkotsky was initially suspected of being an accomplice, but the prosecution later learned that she was deceived by Cooper into believing he was a Mossad agent. She was charged with wrongful death, but ultimately reached a plea bargain and was convicted of negligence, illegally dispensing pills and theft.

Zkotsky testified against Cooper, saying in court that she was angry at herself for falling into his web. She thanked Mor-Haim’s family for filing the complaint, “because if they hadn’t filed it, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.”