Police union officials have condemned the early release of actor Lillo Brancato, Jr. after he was jailed for 10 years following a botched break-in which resulted in the death of an off-duty cop.
The 37 year old, who appeared in mob drama The Sopranos, walked free from the Hudson Correctional Facility in New York on Tuesday (31Dec13), five years after he was convicted of carrying out a 2005 burglary in the Bronx.
During his 2008 trial, he also faced a charge of second degree murder for the death of Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who lived in the neighbourhood and had ventured out to investigate the disturbance.
Brancato, Jr. was acquitted of the killing, while his co-defendant Steven Armento was given life behind bars for fatally shooting the policeman. But the actor's release has angered Patrolmen's Benevolent Association officials, who insisted he did not deserve to start 2014 as a free man.
A statement released by Patrick Lynch, the organisation's president, reads: "It is our firm belief that Lillo Brancato is guilty of the murder of police officer Daniel Enchautegui even though he was only convicted of attempted burglary...
"This union will take any steps necessary to ensure that this miscreant follows the conditions of his parole down to the last letter."
Meanwhile, the victim's sister, Yolanda Rosa, has also expressed concerns about Brancato, Jr.'s early release, adding, "I'm disappointed that's he's out. He was equally responsible for my brother's death."
The actor, who refused to speak to reporters outside the prison, had originally been due to walk free in July, 2014. He will now serve five years on parole with a curfew.