The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

'Sopranos' actor Lillo Brancato Jr., paroled after 8 years, speaks about his drug addiction

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - After spending eight years in prison, former "Sopranos" actor Lillo Brancato Jr. says he's trying to help young people avoid making similar, drug-fueled mistakes.

"Here I am, I get the opportunity, I get the shot and then squander it, and do what I did, and get addicted to drugs and just make horrible decisions," the 37-year-old Brancato said in an interview broadcast Sunday on WNYM-AM.

He was paroled in December after serving time for his role in a 2005 Bronx break-in that left an off-duty police officer dead.

Brancato, who got his break in the 1993 film "A Bronx Tale" with Robert De Niro, said he's reaching out to young people to discuss the addiction he was unable to control. His last drug high was in prison in 2006, he said.

According to prosecutors, the actor and a Genovese crime family associate, Steven Armento, were drinking at a Bronx strip club before they tried to break into a nearby basement apartment and steal Valium.

The sound of shattering glass awoke off-duty Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who lived in the neighbourhood and came to the rescue. He confronted the men and a gunbattle erupted, with Armento firing first, prosecutors said.

The dying officer emptied his pistol, hitting Brancato and Armento. The bloodied actor was arrested as he tried to get into his car, authorities said.

Brancato was acquitted of murder in the officer's death but convicted of attempted burglary. Armento was convicted of firing the fatal bullet.

He acknowledged that some of the actors who've worked with him in the past may not be willing to do so again. He played a young mobster on "The Sopranos" in 2000.

But "at least, see the person that I am today, see the person that I've grown up into," he said. "I definitely had to learn the hard way, but I am no longer that person who was present that night."

Authorities say he will remain under supervision through 2018. He was released to his family in Yonkers.

When Brancato was released from prison, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said in statement: "This union will take any steps necessary to ensure that this miscreant follows the conditions of his parole down to the last letter."

The most important thing he learned in prison, Brancato said, "is how to get through tough times" — without drugs.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy says team couldn't get anything going

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google