Ailing former Colombo family boss ‘Little Vic’ Orena denied compassionate release

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS
·2 min read

Alzheimer’s-stricken ex-Colombo crime family boss Victor Orena’s latest appeal for compassionate release was shot down by a federal appeals court.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in its 11-page decision, found no grounds for freeing the mob veteran once involved in a bloody internal battle for control of the crime family. Orena, who turned 88 this month, is serving a mandatory life sentence for federal racketeering and murder convictions tied to the Mafia war.

“We have considered Orena’s remaining arguments and find in them no basis for reversal,” the decision concluded. “The district court’s order denying compassionate release is confirmed.”

His lawyer previously said Orena was confined to a wheelchair and battling dementia that left the former gangster convinced he was the president of the United States. The ailing mobster was behind bars in the Federal Medical Center Devers in Massachusetts.

Orena headed one of two warring factions for control of the Colombo family in the early 1990s, taking on supporters of imprisoned family boss Carmine Persico in a bloody fight where 12 people were killed and another 28 injured, authorities said.

The lethal conflict ended with Orena’s Brooklyn Federal Court conviction three days before Christmas 1992, when he was slapped with three life sentences plus 85 years in federal prison. The mobster is patriarch to a large extended family, with five sons and 20 grandkids.

Messages left with his attorney and one of his sons for comment on the decision were not returned Wednesday.

Orena’s compassionate release motion dates to July 2021, an appeal that was rejected when a judge ruled his “undeniably serious” medical problems did not outweigh the factors favoring his continued imprisonment.

The Second Circuit echoed the lower court rejection of Orena’s argument that his life sentence created a disparity with the jail terms given to other organized crime defendants, noting most of the cases cited involved mobsters turned cooperating witnesses.

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