Lillo Brancato testified at his own trial today, blaming drugs for the shooting death of New York City cop Daniel Enchautegui. Brancato is accused of having entered a home with friend Steven Armento and shot the officer in the head when he came to investigate.
The 32 year-old Sopranos actor said he started smoking pot while he was filming the 1993 film A Bronx Tale and later moved to cocaine and heroin.
“If you don’t do it, you’re all aches and pains and if you do, you’re digging yourself a deeper hole. Mentally, I was a mess. I needed something.”
Armento was sent to prison for life in an earlier trial. Brancato – who was shot and wounded by the officer – is challenging the prosecutor’s claim that he was burglarizing the house at the time of the shooting. Under New York State law, Brancato cannot be convicted of murder in this instance unless it is proved he was committing a robbery.
The defense insists that Brancato believed his friend was at the house and was calling for help, which was why he entered.