New York Daily News

November 15, 2007

Lillo Brancato pal claims he never confessed to cop killing

BY CHRISENA COLEMAN and LEO STANDORA
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Two-bit crook Steven Armento claimed Wednesday he never confessed to killing NYPD Officer Daniel Enchautegui, then - in a bid for sympathy - did a semistrip to show a judge where the slain cop shot him.

Armento, whose co-defendant is former "Sopranos" actor Lillo Brancato, told Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett the mortally wounded Enchautegui plugged him nine times during a Dec. 10, 2005, gunfight.

To prove his point, Armento, 50, yanked up his blue-yellow-and-khaki golf shirt to show the gunshot wounds, the top of striped boxer shorts and a bobbing beer belly.

The surprise show-and-tell drew chuckles from the cop-heavy gallery, which struggled to stifle outright laughter when Armento told Barrett that one of the slugs hit him in the groin but that he wasn't going to drop his pants.

Handed the alleged confession he gave to cops, Armento insisted, "That is not my signature. I didn't write it and didn't sign it."

He claimed he was "heavily medicated" while in Jacobi Medical Center and didn't even remember talking to investigators.

"The police kept waking me up, trying to question me, but I told them to leave me alone and get me a doctor," he said.

But Bronx Assistant District Attorney Terry Gottlieb told the court Armento's medical records showed he was "awake, alert and responsive and in stable condition and denied being in pain" when he was questioned Dec.12, 2005.

The judge now must decide which statements allegedly made by Armento and Brancato will be allowed into the trial.

After the hearing, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said of Armento, "We knew he was a born killer and now we know he is a born liar.

"He contradicted himself on the stand, calling all the professionals liars. He believes he's right and the rest of the world is wrong."

lstandora@nydailynews.com