GOSHEN – Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that a County Court jury has convicted Victor Koltun, 44, of Bayville, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York, of Murder in the First Degree (3 counts), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (2 counts), and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. The jury found that Koltun had conspired with two other men to murder Francis and Gerald Piscopo, and that Koltun, acting in concert with his co-conspirators, murdered Francis Piscopo, as well as Francis Piscopo’s nephew, Gerald Piscopo. Both victims died after being shot in the head on November 4, 2010, in the vicinity of 12 Liberty Street in Newburgh.
Prosecutors had argued that Koltun had been involved in a financial dispute with Francis Piscopo, who was demanding money from Koltun. Prosecutors argued that the evidence proved that Koltun masterminded a conspiracy to have Francis Piscopo killed to avoid paying that debt, and that he recruited Frank Lewis and Craig Fennell into the murder conspiracy. Prosecutors also argued that Koltun lured Francis Piscopo to Liberty Street in Newburgh under the guise of meeting him to settle their financial dispute, when in reality it was Koltun’s intention to have Francis Piscopo killed. When Francis Piscopo arrived at the meeting with his nephew, Gerald Piscopo, both were shot in the head and killed. Prosecutors argued to the jury that there was no evidence that Gerald Piscopo was involved in any dispute with Koltun.
Koltun’s co-conspirators, Frank Lewis, 59, of Brooklyn, New York, and Craig Fennell, 54, of Manhattan had previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy in the Second Degree. The trial commenced on January 13, 2014, and ended with the jury rendering its verdict on February 10th. The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Byrne and Assistant District Attorney Steven Goldberg.
"I am gratified that the jury’s verdict will ensure that this defendant, who coldly conspired to have someone killed, and not only caused the murder of his intended victim, but also that of an innocent bystander, will be made to answer for his crimes," District Attorney Hoovler said. "This office will hold accountable anyone who injures or murders others. Those who think they can escape punishment by cowardly recruiting others to commit violent crimes will ultimately be held responsible."
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department and the New York State Police for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of these cases.
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Senior Assistant District Attorney David Byrne and Assistant District Attorney Steven Goldberg for their prosecution of the case.
Koltun is scheduled to be sentenced before County Court Judge Nicholas De Rosa on March 12, 2014, and faces Life Imprisonment without the possibility of parole on the charges of Murder in the First Degree.