Ex-Sopranos actor sentenced to 10 years

Fri Jan 9, 2009 5:35pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actor Lillo Brancato Jr., who starred alongside Robert De Niro in the 1993 movie "A Bronx Tale" and played a bit part on "The Sopranos," was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for his role in an attempted burglary that killed an off-duty police officer.

Brancato, 32, was convicted of attempted burglary on December 22 but acquitted of felony murder for the 2005 incident in the Bronx section of New York City in which officer Daniel Enchautegui was shot and killed.

Defense lawyers said that during the break-in Brancato was high on drugs, which he started taking while on the set of "A Bronx Tale" at age 15. The lawyers said he was trying to enter the house of a friend who had provided him with drugs before.

Enchautegui, who lived next door, went to investigate after hearing the sound of breaking glass.

Prosecutors had argued that Brancato should be convicted of murder because he acted in concert with the man who fired the gun. Steven Armento, 51, was convicted of murder in a separate trial and sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors sought the maximum sentence of 15 years for Brancato, who played De Niro's son in "A Bronx Tale." Brancato also played the role of Matt Bevilaqua in the TV series "The Sopranos." He has already served three years in jail.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta)