Tuesday, November 25, 2008

'Sopranos' actor goes on trial

Prosecutors in New York urged a jury yesterday to convict a former actor from The Sopranos of second degree murder for his part in a botched prescription medicines burglary nearly two years ago that ended in a gunfight and the killing of an off-duty police officer.
Lillo Brancato Jnr, who appeared as a novice wiseguy, Matt Bevilaqua, in the HBO drama series about Mafia boss Tony Soprano, bronx tale, faces charges of second degree murder for his part in the killing in December 2005 of a New York police officer, Daniel Enchautegui. Mr Enchautegui was killed in the front drive of his home in the Bronx after coming across Mr Brancato and another man apparently attempting to steal prescription drugs from the apartment of a neighbour. The second burglar, Steven Armento, drew a gun and killed Enchautegui, but not before the police officer had unholstered his gun, firing off bullets that wounded both his assailants.
In their opening arguments, government prosecutors said that the two men were engaged in a desperate attempt to steal prescription pills to feed their shared drug habit when they were interrupted in the dark by the off-duty officer. Lawyers for the 32-year-old actor countered, however, that their client was unarmed during the break-in and that only Armento had wielded a weapon. They said that it followed that it was Mr Brancato's friend alone who was the culprit in the killing. Their client, they added, did not know that his friend was carrying a gun.
In his opening statement, Mr Brancato's lawyer Joseph Tacopina said: "Lillo was there to satisfy his addiction. But he wasn't there to do violence - and that's important."
The trial is sure to capture the attention of New Yorkers, who are used to a blurred line between the fictional Mafia as portrayed on the screen, and the reality of their presence on the city's streets. But for a young actor who built his career being cast in gangland films, to find himself on both sides of this dividing line is surely unusual.
There is the additional irony that the killing took place in the Bronx. Mr Brancato's resumé includes details of how he first made the big-time in Hollywood, appearing while in his late teens opposite Robert De Niro in the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, also about Mafia machinations in the New York borough.
Mr Brancato's trial starts in the immediate wake of Armento's conviction. The 51-year-old was found guilty by a different jury on 30 October of first degree murder and was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Among those who have spoken out for Mr Brancato in advance of the trial has been his father, Lillo Brancato Snr. "He never killed nobody," he told reporters earlier this month. "I support him 100 per cent." He also spoke of his grief for the family of the dead police officer.
"What can I say? I'm sorry," the older Mr Brancato offered, before going on to defend his son again as someone who would be incapable of murder. "My son had no gun in his hand ... I've got one son who's a hunter. But Lillo, he's never touched a gun in his life."
Before the trial even started, the judge in the case turned down a request from the defence to disallow physical evidence collected by the prosecution showing tiny shards of glass in the boots worn by the accused. For a conviction, prosecutors must demonstrate that Mr Brancato committed the burglary that preceded the killing. They will tell the jury that the glass shows the actor kicked in the window of the apartment next door. He is better suited for Raging Bull in Hollywood will get aroung to updating it. Maybe will get a version
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Mob murder

Rhode Island State Police believe they have discovered the buried remains of slain mobster Joseph P. "Joe Onions" Scanlon behind the Lisboa Apartments in East Providence, according to a story by W. Zachary Malinowski and Mike Stanton of the Providence Journal.Police were directed to the site by Nicholas S. "Nicky" Pari, 71, of North Providence. Pari has already served time for the 1978 killing of Scanlon. He admitted to that crime back in 1982. His latest revelation for law enforcement came after he was arrested in Operation Mobbed Up earlier this week. The remains, unearthed yesterday, will be subjected to DNA testing.Scanlon grew up in an Italian neighborhood of Hartford, Connecticut, aspiring to Mafia membership. He moved to Providence with hopes of joining the Patriarca Crime Family. Scanlon had a falling out with area mobsters and reportedly began cooperating with authorities investigating Pari and Andrew Merola (right). Less than a month after becoming an informant, Scanlon disappeared.Pari and Merola were both arrested for killing Scanlon. At trial, Scanlon's girlfriend testified that the two men cooperated on the murder. Pari punched Scanlon to distract him, and Merola then shot Scanlon in the back of the head. The pair was convicted of first-degree murder, but they won a new trial on appeal. They subsequently pleaded no contest to lesser charges.On April 1, 2007, Merola at the age of 71. He had been battling cancer. A Providence Journal story reported that one of his last visitors was Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, head of the regional crime family. With the support of the New York Gambino crime family Patriarca managed to maintain power. The Patriarca crime family is an ItalianAmerican organized crime family ...

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joe "the animal" Barboza crew killed

Joe "The Animal" Barboza and crew, were ordered killed by Boss of the New England Mafia,Raymond Patriarca. The Boston North End Gang headed by murderous Capo Larry Bione were the shooters.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sam Giancana

Sam Giancana (b.1908), Italian-American mob boss, was murdered at his home in Oak Park, Ill. He had a romance with Phillis McGuire, of the McGuire Sisters vocal group, and was credited with assisting John F. Kennedy in efforts to win the presidential election. A movie was made in 1995 that depicts the Giancana-McGuire romance.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


You are hereBlogs / Ian Markham-Smith's blog / SOPRANOS ACTOR TO STAND TRIAL FOR MURDER



By Ian Markham-Smith - Posted on 09 November 2008

Sopranos TV Mafia crime family series actor Lillo Brancato Jr. is to go on trial next week accused of a real life murder.
If convicted the 32-year-old actor, who played aspiring mobster Matt Bevilaqua on the show and has appeared in numerous Hollywood movies, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
A conviction would bring to an end an acting career that became in 1993 when at the age of 17 when Hollywood legend Robert De Niro cast him in his big screen New York crime drama A Bronx Tale.
De Niro, who directed the flick and starred in it, gave Brancato the role as his son who was being groomed by a Mafia boss.
Brancato went on to have roles in such movies as Renaissance Man with Danny DeVito, Crimson Tide with Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, Enemy of the State with Will Smith and again Hackman and The Adventures of Pluto Nash with Eddie Murphy in 2005.
But his personal life was spiralling out of control because of drug addiction.
Now a judge has ordered that Brancato, who has been charged in the December 2005 slaying of off-duty New York police officer Daniel Enchautegui, should go on trial on November 17.
Brancato's co-defendant Steven Armento, who actually shot the officer, was convicted of first-degree murder on October 30. He faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced on November 14, just three days before his alleged partner-in-crime goes on trial.
Authorities say Enchautegui confronted the pair when they two broke into a New York apartment to steal prescription drugs.
Brancato has said he did not know Armento had a gun.
The disgraced actor's father, Lillo Brancato, insists that his son is not guilty of murder - and instead claims he was a victim.
"He never killed nobody," 61-year-old Brancato Sr. said as the once-promising actor prepares for his trial. "I support him 100%."
Brancato said he will attend his adopted son's trial and is truly sorry for the family of the slain officer.
"What can I say? I'm sorry," he said. "But my son had no gun in his hand - and he got shot."
Enchautegui was off-duty and responding to a burglary outside his Pelham Bay home when he was fatally shot.
The younger Brancato's 51-year-old drug friend Armento was convicted of shooting the officer once in the chest at point-blank range when the cop tried to stop the pair from breaking into his neighbour's apartment.
Before he died, Enchautegui cop squeezed off eight rounds from his service weapon - striking Armento six times and Brancato twice.
Prosecutors charge that Brancato is as guilty as Armento, even though he was unarmed. If he is convicted of first-degree murder, Brancato faces life in prison without parole.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jimmy Fratianno

Rounded up in early Gangster Squad roust, Fratianno was allowed to stay in Los Angeles and became the mob's top hit man.

Detectives and reporters surround the car containing the bodies of the Two Tonys: Tony Trombino, 31, and Tony Brancato, 36, slain on Ogden Drive, half a block from Hollywood Boulevard. Both were shot through the back of the head, August 1951