The Sopranos actor Lillo Brancato Jr. had no idea the man who confronted him while he was robbing a New York house was an off-duty cop, his defence attorney told a murder trial jury on Tuesday (25Nov08).
Brancato, 32, is accused of murdering Officer Daniel Enchautegui, even though his accomplice Steven Armento fired the deadly shots during a botched burglary back in 2005.
Armento was convicted and jailed for life for his role in the murder last month (Oct08).
Brancato is facing a similar sentence, but his defence attorney insists he was not carrying a weapon, and had no idea Armento was armed and that Enchautegui was a police officer.
After hearing shots fired, now-retired Officer Courtney Mapp raced to the scene and found Officer Enchautegui dying, Armento brandishing a gun, and Brancato bleeding, having been shot by the wounded cop.
Under cross-examination from defence attorney Joseph Tacopina, Mapp confirmed that Brancato made no mention of Enchautegui being a police officer, instead complaining, "That b**ch shot me."
Earlier in the trial, Tacopina described how Brancato and Armento were attempting to steal prescription drugs from the house they were robbing, after a night of drinking in a strip club.
The actor found fame playing Robert De Niro's son in A Bronx Tale, and then landed a role as junior mobster Matt Bevilacqua in The Sopranos.