Lillo Brancato, who played a bumbling aspiring mobster on "The Sopranos," was cleared Monday of second-degree murder in the shooting death of an off-duty policeman during a drunken, late-night search for drugs.Since it involved a cop and a B-list actor this case has been getting a lot of play here in NYC. Personally I believe that the jury made the right decision. Having followed the case from the get-go, I could never buy into the idea that Brancato, an actor whose never had a history of violence and who had a lot of potential before he fell victim to drugs, had any idea, in his drug-addicted haze, that someone might be killed the night he went out looking for his friend to score some drugs. Brancato's accomplice shot and killed the cop and now he's doing life without the possibility of parole because of it. Enough people have suffered here. Brancato can either choose now to learn from this whole, tragic experience and get his life together or continue down the same dismal path he's been on. If he picks the latter, one can only hope that no one else will suffer from it. Lastly, as a Sopranos fan, I think it's insulting that the media keeps linking Brancato to a show he appeared in like 3 or 4 episodes of, at most.
The jury convicted Brancato of a lesser charge of attempted burglary. He faces a minimum of three years in prison on that count, but the former actor could get credit for time served because he has been behind bars about that long.
Brancato showed no reaction as the verdict was read — his face impassive, his fingers pressed together. His mother, seated a couple rows back in the gallery, began sobbing.
Prosecutors say Brancato and accomplicebroke into a basement apartment to steal prescription drugs after a night of drinking at a strip club. Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who lived next door, came out to investigate.
Armento blasted the 28-year-old officer with his .357 Magnum, hitting him in the heart. The dying officer fired back, wounding both men. Armento was convicted earlier this year of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.