Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder in Miami: Stan and Joyce Cohen

A Deadly Sin

The eyes that stare out from the Florida prison mug shot are unmistakably those of Joyce Lemay Cohen.

Once as pretty as a fashion model, she has retained some of her attractive featuresumber-colored eyes, lush lips and noble cheekbones. 

Joyce Cohen, prison photo ID
Joyce Cohen, prison photo ID

But her hair is shorn, and she has gone graysomething she would never have tolerated in the lavish life she once led.

But after 15 years in prison, any remaining glimmer of glamour went dull long ago for Cohen.

She is 55 years old now. Her life is reduced to the simple regimen of incarceration at Broward Correctional Institution, the women's prison in Fort Lauderdale.

She is inmate No. 161701, one of 611 women prisoners.

Greed got her there.

At age 24 she married a rich older man, Stanley Cohen, who introduced Joycehis fourth wifeto a jet-set way of life.

Stan Cohen
Stan Cohen

They lived in an historic mansion overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami's ritzy Coconut Grove section. They drove Jaguars and flew in their own jet. They vacationed in one adult sandbox after anotherthe Bahamas, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Las Vegas and Cancun, Mexico.

Stan Cohen bought a spread near Steamboat Springs, Colo., for winter pleasure.

Mrs. Cohen became accustomed to the fine things in lifedesigner clothing, satin sheets, servants.

She enjoyed her husband's wealth. She enjoyed his "Miami Vice" lifestyle. She enjoyed his social status.

But over time the marriage began to lose its sheen. She was doing too much cocaine. He was fooling around on her.

The couple began spending more time apartshe in Colorado partying, he in Miami running his construction and real estate development business.

One day, after 11 years of marriage, Joyce Cohen stared out at the Rocky Mountain peaks and got a lump in throat. She had reached the conclusion that she wanted the man's possessionsall of them, not half. But she did not want the man.

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