As a fugitive, the notorious biker gang’s former leader did ‘landscaping, home repair or any kind of fix-it work that might generate some cash and maybe a bed to sleep in,’ lawyer says.
In his 16 years on the run, there were stories going around that former Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club boss Orville “Orvie” Cochran was living the good life, flush with cash from crime and hidden by a network of sympathizers of the notorious biker gang.
But Cochran’s time on the lam actually was kind of bleak, as his lawyer described it in a court filing that offers the first glimpse into what Cochran was up to from the time he took off in 2001 until his capture in 2017 — when he got busted for shoplifting a back brace from a Meijer store in Evergreen Park.
“During these long years separated from anyone who ever knew or cared about him, he managed to get by doing landscaping, home repair or any kind of fix-it work that might generate some cash and maybe a bed to sleep in,” attorney John W. Campion wrote to a judge before Cochran was sentenced in 2019 to five years in federal prison.
“He spent his time in the Chicago area during warmer months and then in Arizona during winters. During those years he received no medical treatment or monitoring, and his health deteriorated. Toward the end of this terrible time, he often needed to lay flat for long periods to try to calm his racing, arrhythmic heart.”
“For 16 years he had no contact” with his fiancée or “his mother, who died shortly after he ran, or his ex-wife and three children,” Campion wrote. “He feared that any contact would put those people in peril and could get him caught. During this time, his two sons would also die.”
Now 70 and being held at a federal prison hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, that isn’t allowing interviews with inmates because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cochran believes his arrest “was about the best thing that could happen to him,” his lawyer wrote. “He suspects he may not have lived much longer without medical intervention.”
Beside heart problems, he was treated after his arrest for “depression and anxiety” and had other medical issues including a hernia, “high blood pressure, acid reflux, chronic back pain, tinnitus, bursitis, blood clots, bronchitis,” according to court records.
Exactly where he spent his time on the lam isn’t spelled out in the court records. Neither is whether Cochran, who pleaded guilty, cooperated with authorities.
Campion wouldn’t comment.
Cochran’s fiancée, who lives on the South Side and asked not to be named, said, “Nobody knows what he was doing . . . and nobody really cares.”
She said she had been talking regularly with Cochran by phone after his arrest but that the pandemic changed that. Now, “there’s absolutely no communication,” she said.
He had taken off in response to a racketeering indictment in 2001.
“Cochran saw what he thought was writing on the wall,” his lawyer wrote. “He panicked and fled.”
Cochran and five other Outlaws were charged in the case, which accused members of the motorcycle gang in Illinois and Wisconsin of involvement in the 1990s in bombings, drug dealing and the killings of two members of the rival Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Cochran’s co-defendants all were convicted and have served their prison sentences.
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Cochran pleaded guilty in 2018 to conspiracy to assault and murder rival bikers, and prosecutors dropped the other charges against him.
Cochran could have faced a sentence of as much 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. But his lawyers and federal prosecutors in Milwaukee, where the case was handled, agreed to recommend no fine and 60 months in prison, and that’s the sentence a judge imposed last year.