Closing arguments heard in Brancato murder trial

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The jury in the murder trial of actor Lillo Brancato Jr. is getting ready to decide his fate after hearing closing arguments Tuesday.

Brancato denies he took part in the 2005 killing of off-duty New York City Police Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who was fatally shot by Brancato?s co-conspirator, Steven Armento, during what prosecutors say was a botched burglary.

Defense attorney Joseph Tacopino says Brancato admitted to breaking the basement window of his friend's house in the Bronx, hoping to steal prescription drugs, but he did not burglarize the place. The commotion alerted Enchautegui, who lived next door. When the officer confronted the two men, Armento fatally shot him. According to the actor?s attorney, Brancato did not know Armento had a gun that night.

The prosecution, however, asserts that the actor burglarized the apartment to steal drugs. Prosecutors say he was just as reckless as Armento, who has already been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Under state law, Brancato cannot be convicted of second-degree murder unless the jury is convinced he burglarized the apartment.

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