Murder mastermind New York rabbi is faking his mental illness, court hears

By Anna Sheinman, August 20, 2012
Murder suspect Rabbi Victor Koltun

Murder suspect Rabbi Victor Koltun

A New York rabbi accused of hiring contract killers to kill two men is faking his mental illness to avoid trial, a court heard on Friday.

Rabbi Victor Koltun of New York faces charges for murder and conspiracy for allegedly ordering the deaths of Gerald Piscopo, 28, and his uncle, ex-policeman Francis Piscopo, 49, on November 4 2010.

At a competency hearing on Friday, New York paper The Times Herald Record reported, forensic psychiatrist Alan Tuckman said that all indications pointed to “serious malingering” by the rabbi.

"Mr Koltun's presentation bore no resemblance whatsoever to any mental disease or defect", said Mr Tuckman. "It was very clear to me that I wasn't getting accurate information from him at all, and that he was toying with me in a very manipulative way."

Mr Tuckman said that in one evaluation Rabbi Koltun appeared to be faking symptoms of mania, psychosis and memory problems.

He was toying with me in a very manipulative way.

Two co-defendants have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and are serving jail time. The competency hearing continues.

Last updated: 8:57am, August 21 2012