A New York woman dubbed the “Black Widow” is expected to be released on parole 30 years after she hired a hitman to gun down her estranged husband in the street as he returned home with groceries.
Barbara Kogan, 77, has served just 12 years behind bars since being arrested in 2008 and later pleading guilty to enlisting her divorce attorney to help her hire someone to kill her wealthy husband in an attempt to gain access to his $4 million life insurance policies, The New York Post reports.
The crime sent shockwaves through the New York community due to the cold-blooded nature of the murder.
As George Kogan fought for his life in a New York Hospital after getting shot three times in the back outside his girlfriend Mary Louise Hawkins’ apartment, Barbara Kogan was getting her hair done for the lofty price of $500, according to The New York Daily News.
Kogan is now slated to be released from prison on parole despite the objection of Hawkins, who called her former love’s estranged wife “an animal.”
“Barbara is extremely good at manipulating people—even parole officers,” she told The Post from an undisclosed location.
In a statement to Oxygen.com, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision spokesperson Thomas Mailey said that Barbara Kogan appeared before the Board of Parole on July 7, 2020 and was granted an "open date of release of November 21, 2020."
Hawkins was just 28 years old when her boyfriend George Kogan was shot with .44-caliber, hollow-point “cop killer” bullets designed to cause as much damage to the internal organs as possible outside her apartment on Oct. 23, 1990.
George had been returning to the home with groceries when someone, who has never been identified, shot him three times before fleeing the scene.
George used his last words to beg the doorman to go get Hawkins.
“The doorman banged on my front door and said come quickly, there’s been an accident,” she recalled to the news outlet.
She rushed outside to find the man she described as a “sweetie” and “big kid” bleeding out on the sidewalk.
“You have no idea what real panic and despair is until you see someone you love lying face down in a pool—no, a torrent of blood,” she wrote to the parole board arguing against Barbara Kogan’s release, according to The Post.
George Kogan had been a wealthy real estate investor who had financial interests in a Puerto Rico casino and several Brooklyn buildings, The New York Times reported in 2010.
He met his wife in college and the two got married and had two children before the marriage began to sour.
Hawkins met the couple in 1988 after she was hired to serve as the publicist for their Madison Avenue antiques store. She insists she never pursued George, but that he began showing up at her apartment with coffee cake and often walked her to work and talked about “how miserable he was.”
George allegedly claimed his wife wouldn’t let him sleep in the master bedroom with her, often called him fat and told him that “he disgusted her,” Hawkins said.
“When I met him he was so miserable, he was slowly killing himself by eating,” she said.
In early 1989, George decided he wanted to divorce his wife and moved into Hawkins’ one-bedroom apartment.
Hawkins told The Post that the couple was happy and in love and that George reveled in the simple—and less expensive—life Hawkins had embraced.
“He was amazed when he realized I washed my own hair,” she said, adding that Barbara had spent thousands each year on beauty treatments, clothes and daily trips to the hair stylist.
The pair had been planning to go to Italy to look for property to develop a hotel when he was killed.
The day he was shot to death, he had been planning to reach a final divorce agreement with Barbara after a two-year contentious legal battle.
After the intense media attention surrounding the case, Hawkins fled to Europe and later got married. She declined to release her new name or current location.
While she moved on with her life, she has never forgotten George and continues to advocate for keeping Barbara behind bars.
“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,” she said. “They’ve been through enough.”
Despite pleading guilty to enlisting her divorce attorney Manuel Martinez to hire a hit man to carry out the killing, Barbara Kogan told the parole board via videoconference from Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, NY that she had been “astounded” when her husband was murdered, according to The Post.
“I didn’t even — I didn’t think it was me,” she said, according to transcript obtained by the outlet.
She later allegedly claimed, “I feel horrible, okay?”
Parole board members commended Barbara Kogan for her efforts behind bars, attending treatment programs and for the volunteer counseling work she’s done.
“You’ve done a lot of work, madam,” one of the parole board members said before telling the 77-year-old they planned to review the case and notify her later of their decision.
Hawkins believes Barbara fooled parole board members into granting the release.
“I’m disgusted, I really am,” she said.
Martinez was convicted in the murder in 2008 after being extradited from Mexico, according to The New York Times. He allegedly helped hire the gunman, who remains unidentified, who took George Kogan’s life.
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