Killer dubbed ‘Black Widow’ gets prison release 30 years after hit on estranged husband

Graeme Massie
·2-min read
New York woman dubbed ‘The Black Widow’ will be released from prison on parole 30 years after she hired a hitman to gun down her estranged husband (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
New York woman dubbed ‘The Black Widow’ will be released from prison on parole 30 years after she hired a hitman to gun down her estranged husband (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

A New York woman dubbed ‘The Black Widow’ will be released from prison on parole 30 years after she hired a hitman to gun down her estranged husband.

Barbara Kogan paid the gunman to kill millionaire George Kogan as he visited his girlfriend in Manhattan in October 1990.

Kogan, 77, infamously had her hair done as her husband died at a New York hospital and earned the nickname because of the dark clothes she wore.

She has served just 12 years behind bars since her arrest in 2008 for getting her divorce attorney to organise the killing so she could get paid a $4.3 million life insurance policy.

Following a July parole hearing Kogan will now be released from prison in November, despite her husband’s then girlfriend Mary Louise Hawkins describing her as an “animal.”

“Barbara is extremely good at manipulating people, even parole officers,” Ms Hawkins told the New York Post.

“I’m disgusted, I really am,” Hawkins told the Post.

“My main goal was to make sure she stays away from her sons, because she will coerce them and try to get them to feel sorry for her. They’ve been through enough.”

The shooter, who was wearing a green baseball cap, attacked Mr Kogan as he brought groceries to Ms Hawkins and has never been caught.

Kogan’s divorce lawyer was convicted of the murder in 2008 while she pleaded guilty to grand larceny, conspiracy to commit murder, and murder in the first degree.

Ms Hawkins met the couple in 1988 when they hired her as the publicist for their antiques store on Madison Avenue.

When Mr Kogan divorced his wife a year later he moved into Ms Hawkins’s apartment and when he was shot he had not yet reached a final settlement with his ex-wife.

Despite pleading guilty to hiring her divorce lawyer Manuel Martinez to organise the killing she told the parole board hearing that she was “astounded” at the slaying.

“Actually, when he was murdered, I was so astounded,” Kogan reportedly told her parole hearing.

“I didn’t even, I didn’t think it was me,” she said.

“I thought, ‘What is going on here?’”

After the intense media coverage of the case Ms Hawkins reportedly moved to Europe, married and changed her name.