An Israeli man found guilty last month of murdering two of his wives was handed two life sentences by the Lod District Court on Sunday.
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Shimon Cooper was also ordered to pay NIS 258,000 in compensation to the families of his late wives for their murders, which the court found in last month’s ruling he had staged to appear as suicides.
Cooper, a 55-year-old resident of Kibbutz Eyal, was married three times and is also suspected of killing his mother, but no charges have yet been filed in that investigation.
Cooper said following the sentencing that he would continue to fight to prove his innocence.
“As long as I breathe I will continue to fight to the end for my innocence, however long it takes,” he said. “All the truth will come out.”
Prosecutor Navah Toledano-Yehuda said that the court handed down the maximum sentence requested, and that Cooper “will not see the light of day in the near future.”
First wife Orit Cooper died in 1994 and Cooper’s third wife, Jenny Mor-Haim died in 2009. Both deaths were initially ruled suicides by overdose of sleeping pills. But in 2010, the Channel 2 news investigative program “Uvda” (“Fact”) featured the case in a 30-minute segment, highlighting suspicion-provoking similarities in the circumstances of the two women’s deaths.
After the program was aired, Mor-Haim’s daughters hired attorney Zvika Avnon to launch an independent investigation into the circumstances of their mother’s death. Avnon’s findings precipitated the reopening of the police investigation.
The investigation heated up after the police received the testimony of Cooper’s second wife, who left Cooper claiming that she felt increasingly ill and that she suspected Cooper of attempting to poison her.
Cooper’s lover, anesthesiologist Maria Zkotsky, was convicted of negligence for providing the killer with the drugs he used to murder Mor-Haim.
Zkotsky claimed Cooper duped her into believing he was a Mossad agent and that he needed the drugs for a secret assassination mission.
Police suspect that Cooper killed his wives and his mother after convincing them to amend their wills and bequeath their property to him.