Carmine 'the Snake' Persico, Colombo crime family boss, dead at age 85

Persico was convicted of racketeering and murder in a prosecution of mob bosses led by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani.
Carmine Persico Poses For A Portrait
Carmine Persico, boss of the Colombo Crime Family, poses for a portrait on Sept. 15, 1986 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City during the Commission trial. Persico is also known as "Junior" and "The Snake."Yvonne Hemsey / Getty Images file

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By Associated Press

NEW YORK — The longtime boss of the infamous Colombo crime family, Carmine "the Snake" Persico, has died in prison at the age of 85.

Attorney Benson Weintraub says Persico died on Thursday at the Duke University Medical Center. He had been serving what was effectively a life sentence at a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Persico was convicted of racketeering and murder in a prosecution of mob bosses led by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani.

Prosecutors said Persico took over the murderous New York-based crime organization in the early 1970s when it was at the height of its powers.

He was sentenced to more than a century in prison during the 1986 "Commission Trial" targeting the heads of New York's mafia families.

Persico served as his own lawyer during the trial.