NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former “Sopranos” actor convicted of an attempted burglary that led to the killing of an off-duty New York City police officer has been released on parole.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, Lillo Brancato Jr. was freed from prison at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
A jury found Brancato guilty of a 2005 botched burglary but acquitted him of murder in the death of Officer Daniel Enchautegui.
Brancato and an accomplice, Steven Arment, were trying to steal drugs from a house when Arment shot Enchautegui, who lived next door and approached the home after hearing glass break.
Brancato was sentenced to 10 years but was released after serving eight, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported. Arment was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Shortly after his release, Brancato, 37, paid a quick visit to his parole officer and then went to his parents’ home in Yonkers, where he was welcomed with open arms, D’Auria reported.
“This is a very big day,” Brancato told reporters. “Thank you all for coming. I just want to spend some time with my family.”
“It feels great” to be home,” he said. “I can’t even describe in words.”
He said being home in Yonkers with his family as “a gift from God.”
Enchautegui’s sister, Yolanda Rosa, told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport, that Brancato’s release has left her feeling “numb.”
“I’m just full of emotions today, and just the mere fact that he has a welcome committee like he did something so grand, it’s like a slap in the face for police officers also,” she said.
Patrick J. Lynch, president of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told WCBS 880 that the parole board made a “terrible mistake” by releasing Brancato.
“He should have been held accountable for participating in the death of New York City police officer,” he said. “But nonetheless, he’s out in the streets. Parole will be watching, and every police officer across the state will be watching. And when he makes that mistake, we’ll put him back behind bars, where he belongs.
“When the parole board looks and says that he was a model prisoner, it’s easy to do what you have to do when you’re behind bars and corrections officers are monitoring you,” Lynch added. “It’s a different thing when they’re out in the street. When he was out in the street, he was a drug-addicted burglar who did it on a regular basis and killed a New York City police officer.”
Brancato will remain under community supervision until Dec. 31, 2018.
He made his debut in 1993 in “A Bronx Tale” opposite Robert De Niro. He later played a doomed aspiring mobster in HBO’s “The Sopranos.”
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