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'Sopranos' actor and co-defendant appear in court in slain officer case

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK- "Sopranos" and "Bronx Tale" actor Lillo Brancato Jr. and a co-defendant appeared in court Monday for arraignment on murder charges in the shooting of an off-duty police officer last month.

As dozens of police officers and relatives of the defendants looked on, Brancato, 29, and Steven Armento, 48, were formally read the charges against them: murder, burglary and weapon possession. Armento, the alleged triggerman, was additionally charged with two counts of first-degree, or premeditated, murder.

Both men, who entered the courtroom in handcuffs, pleaded not guilty before state Supreme Court Justice John Collins.

The Bronx courtroom was filled to capacity with spectators, including the parents of the slain officer, Daniel Enchautegui. The families of the defendants and the police officers filled the remaining seats. About 150 off-duty police officers stood outside the courthouse.

Enchautegui was shot on Dec. 10 as he attempted to intercept a burglary in a Bronx apartment.

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