Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Rabbi Indicted On Murder Charges
GOSHEN -- An Orange County grand jury has indicted a rabbi and two associates on first-degree murder charges in the Nov. 4 slaying of a former cop and his nephew.
Francis Piscopo and his nephew Gerald Piscopo were found fatally shot inside a vacant house at 12 Liberty Street in Newburgh.
According to an indictment handed up Tuesday, three men -- Victor Koltun, 41, of Bayville, N.J, who has said he is a rabbi; Frank Lewis, 56, of Brooklyn; and Craig Fennell, 51, of New York City -- conspired to kill the Piscopos in a murder-for-hire plot.
The men are charged with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, two counts for second-degree conspiracy and a felony weapons charge.
According to the indictment, the three men made a series of cell phone calls to each other throughout Nov. 3 and 4, and Koltun spoke to Francis Piscopo via cell phone. The indictment lays out the following sequence of events:
On Nov. 4, Koltun had his driver bring him, Lewis and Fennell to 12 Liberty St., in a Hummer SUV belonging to Koltun's father. Koltun and Lewis had the driver take them to Liberty in Sullivan County, where they picked up Koltun's father. The father went to a bank to get cash while Koltun, Lewis and the driver waited in the Dunkin Donuts on Route 52. The father returned with the cash, which he handed to Koltun. Koltun handed the cash to Lewis. The driver took the father home, then returned for Koltun and Lewis, who he then drove back to the Newburgh house. The driver dropped off Koltun and Lewis, and waited up the street.
Inside the house, the indictment alleges, the three men shot and killed the Piscopos. Then, the indictment says, the driver drove the three men to Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., where they ate at an IHOP restaurant. Then the driver took them back to the city.
All three suspects are being held without bail pending arraignment in Orange County Court.