Chief-Leader
January 6, 2014

 

PBA: ‘Will Take Any Steps Necessary’ To Keep Brancato Honest

By MARK TOOR

   

PATRICK J. LYNCH: A word to the wiseguy.

 

An actor-turned-drug-addict who was convicted of a crime related to the 2005 murder of a police officer was released from prison last week after serving less than 10 years, leading the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association to promise unceasing vigilance with the goal of putting him back behind bars if he violates parole.

“It is our firm belief that Lillo Brancato is guilty of the murder of Police Officer Daniel Enchautequi even though he was only convicted of attempted burglary,” Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement. “Even while incarcerated, this lowlife thug showed his true colors when he beat up a fellow inmate who wouldn’t get off a pay phone quickly enough.

‘We’ll Be Watching Him’

“As the system prepares to release him on parole, this union will take any steps necessary to ensure that this miscreant follows the conditions of his parole down to the last letter,” Mr. Lynch continued. “The entire law-enforcement community will be watching, and the minute he steps out of line, we’ll be sure that he is returned to prison to finish out the rest of his sentence.”

Mr. Brancato left prison Dec. 31 after serving eight years of a 10-year sentence. The sentencing judge, Martin Marcus of Bronx Supreme Court, could have given him anywhere from 3½ to 15 years.

Mr. Brancato was acquitted of felony murder in the death of Officer Enchautequi but convicted of attempted burglary. He and a friend, Steven Armento, had broken into a home in the Pelham Bay section of The Bronx in hope of robbing a drug dealer’s stash.

Officer Enchautequi, who lived in a basement apartment a few doors away, heard breaking glass and went to investigate, his badge on a chain around his neck. When he saw a broken window, he called 911. As he waited for backup, Mr. Brancato and Mr. Armento left the house he was watching.

He shouted, “Police! Don’t move!” Mr. Armento fired at him with a .357-caliber revolver, hitting him near the heart. Though wounded, he was able to fire six bullets, hitting both men.

Died At Hospital

Officer Enchautegui died later that day at a hospital. He was 28 and had been a police officer for three years. He was a year younger than Mr. Brancato when he died.

Mr. Brancato was unarmed, but he was charged with felony murder under the doctrine that anyone involved in a crime that results in death is responsible for it. A member of the jury said it could not conclude that Mr. Brancato knew Mr. Armento was armed.

Mr. Armento was convicted of killing a police officer during a robbery attempt and was sentenced to life in prison.

Mr. Brancato had two highly-visible roles before his worsening drug problem made him so unreliable that producers would not work with him.

In the movie “A Bronx Tale,” which was directed by Robert DeNiro, Mr. Brancato played Calogero Anello, a young man torn between his law-abiding father, played by Mr. DeNiro, and local mobsters. Mr. Brancato, who grew up in Yonkers, was 17 in 1993 when he was cast for this role.

Nearly a decade later, on the second season of “The Sopranos,” he played Matthew Bevilacqua, a wannabe mobster who tried to kill Tony Soprano’s nephew Christopher and later was shot to death by Tony and Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero.