The police are considering filing negligence charges against anesthesiologist Maria Zkotsky for providing her lover Shimon Cooper with drugs that he allegedly used to murder his wife, but Zkotsky, on Monday, claimed Cooper duped her into believing he was a Mossad agent and that he needed the drugs for a secret assassination mission.
“It was only during the police questioning that I began to hear that Shimon Cooper does not work for the Defense Ministry, he isn’t a Mossad agent, he was never a prisoner of war and is not a senior officer in the military,” Zkotsky told reporters. Zkotsky said that she didn’t even know Cooper had been married before. “I believed him and he took advantage of me.” She is now expected to testify against him in his upcoming trial.
Zkotsky, who lived with Cooper for three years and was in a relationship with him for six, was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of having knowingly assisted Cooper in murdering his third wife, Jenny Mor-Haim, in 2009. She initially faced charges of being an accomplice to murder. Cooper, whom the Israeli media has dubbed “the serial widower,” is suspected of killing Mor-Haim as well as his first wife, who died under suspicious circumstances in 1994.
“Our relationship was fantastic, the whole story about Jenny came as a complete surprise to me,” said Zkotsky. “He told me that he had been a Mossad agent for 25 years, working in a special assassinations unit. He told me of missions to Iran, Iraq and Turkey, and I believed him… About six months before Jenny was killed he started telling me about an assassination mission in the United States and expressed interest in drugs that could kill someone without leaving a trace… I told him everything I know. I felt like I was serving the country.”
Zkotsky said she took drugs from the operating room at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, where she worked, and gave them to Cooper along with a disposable syringe. She said Cooper told her afterwards that he had carried out the mission but had not used the drugs.
Cooper’s two wives died 15 years apart, and police initially ruled both their deaths to be suicides by an overdose of sleeping pills. However, 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.
Cooper’s second wife left him after she began to suspect he was poisoning her.
Cooper continues to maintain his innocence.
Philip Podolsky contributed to this report.