Acting boss of Colombo family, 87, ‘suffers from Alzheimer’s and now believes he is president’

Former Colombo crime family acting boss, 87, ‘suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and now believes he is President of the United States’, relatives say, as they claim he should be released on compassionate grounds

  • Victor Orena was sentenced to life plus 85 years in 1992
  • He challenged Colombo boss Carmine Persico’s control of the family in 1991
  • Orena’s actions sparked the last mafia war in New York City history
  • Orena is currently at Massachusetts Federal Medical Center Devens
  • His lawyer, David Schoen, said: ‘Orena doesn’t know who he is or where he is’
  • He said that Orena sometimes believes he is president, or the director of the prison
  • Federal prosecutors did not dispute Orena is now in ill health
  • They opposed his release and said he could still pose a threat of violence


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Lawyers for one of New York City’s most feared mob bosses have told a court that he is so affected by Alzheimer’s disease that he believes he is president of the United States and should be released on compassionate grounds.

Victor Orena, now 87, has been in prison since 1992 – sentenced to life plus 85 years.

He became the acting boss when the head of the Colombo criminal gang, Carmine Persico – leader of one of the famous Five Families that ran organized crime in New York – was captured, and Orena chose to succeed him until Persico’s son is old enough. was about.

Orena tried to challenge the Persico family and sparked the last major New York City mafia war, launched in 1991.

Victor Orena, now 87, is pictured in his heyday surrounded by dollar bills.  The Former Mafia Leader Has Been In Prison Since 1992 And Now Has Alzheimer's

Victor Orena, now 87, is pictured in his heyday surrounded by dollar bills. The Former Mafia Leader Has Been In Prison Since 1992 And Now Has Alzheimer’s

Orena was sentenced to life plus 85 years in 1992;  his family seeks compassionate release

Orena was sentenced to life plus 85 years in 1992;  his family seeks compassionate release

Orena was sentenced to life plus 85 years in 1992; his family seeks compassionate release

Carmine Persico, who led the Colombo crime family from 1973 until his death in 2019, is pictured in 1986 – the year he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.  Orena tried to challenge his rule in 1991

Carmine Persico, who led the Colombo crime family from 1973 until his death in 2019, is pictured in 1986 – the year he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.  Orena tried to challenge his rule in 1991

Carmine Persico, who led the Colombo crime family from 1973 until his death in 2019, is pictured in 1986 – the year he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. Orena tried to challenge his rule in 1991

The challenge was reportedly supported by John Gotti, head of the rival Gambino family, who enjoyed watching the Colombo tear apart.

Twelve people were killed and 28 injured the following year, in a massacre that enraged the city.

Victor Orena was appointed acting head of one of New York's five families, but then tried to take over and sparked a civil war

Victor Orena was appointed acting head of one of New York's five families, but then tried to take over and sparked a civil war

Victor Orena was appointed acting head of one of New York’s five families, but then tried to take over and sparked a civil war

Orena’s attorney, David Schoen, has argued for years that his client’s dementia means he is no longer a threat and should be released.

Schoen told Brooklyn federal court that Orena is “a shell of a man.”

He told Judge Eric Komitee: “Mr. Orena is totally unable to take care of himself. The delusions have been around for a while.

“Mr. Orena doesn’t know who he is or where he is.”

Schoen said that Orena sometimes believes he is president, and sometimes he thinks he is the head of the Devens Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts, where he is currently being held.

Orena contracted COVID-19 in prison, then stated that the pandemic was a conspiracy devised by President Biden, Schoen said.

Orena can’t walk alone or use the bathroom without help now, the lawyer said.

Orena (right) is pictured with his son Andrew, now 59, who was in court in Brooklyn on Wednesday to continue the fight to release his father

Orena (right) is pictured with his son Andrew, now 59, who was in court in Brooklyn on Wednesday to continue the fight to release his father

Orena (right) is pictured with his son Andrew, now 59, who was in court in Brooklyn on Wednesday to continue the fight to release his father

Devon Lash, assistant US attorney, did not question Orena’s frailty, but said the father of five and grandfather of 20 still posed a threat, alluding to the Colombo bloodshed in the early 1990s.

“He sparked a conflict that injured 28 people and claimed 12 lives,” Lash said.

Judge Komitee did not rule, but Orena’s son Andrew Orena, 59, who was in court on Wednesday, said the family was not optimistic.

“Unfortunately, this is not the time frame we would like,” he said The New York Daily News.

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