Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sopranos Actor to be Tried Separately for Murder of Off-Duty Cop

"Sopranos" actor Lillo Brancato will be tried separately from his allegedly trigger-happy cohort for the murder of an off-duty cop, a Bronx judge ruled Friday.

Brancato, who got his acting break as a teen in Robert De Niro's movie "A Bronx Tale," is slated to go on trial on Oct. 28.

Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus ruled Brancato and pal Steven Armento will have separate days in court following a push by prosecutors to have the pair tried together.

The decision could benefit Brancato because the actor has claimed he had no idea Armento, 51, had a gun when the pair broke into an apartment next door to off-duty cop Daniel Enchautegui in search of drugs in December 2005.

When Enchautegui confronted them outside his home in Pelham Bay, the Bronx, Armento shot him, police said. Before he died, the officer returned fire, wounding Armento and Brancato.

"We want Lillo Brancato to be tried on his actions that night and the jury to make a decision based on his role or his lack of role," said his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina.

"Mr. Brancato is very different than his codefendant. He didn't have a gun, he didn't shoot anyone ... he got shot," said Tacopina.

Armento will be the first of the twosome to stand trial before Marcus on Sept. 29.
Armento's hospital statements, meanwhile, will be used during his trial despite a bid by his lawyer to have them tossed because he was heavily medicated during interviews with cops - a claim that was debunked by doctors.

Thanks to Chrisena Coleman

No comments:

Post a Comment