THE BRONX - The doctor who treated Lillo Brancato Jr. for gunshot wounds after a shootout in which an off-duty NYPD officer was killed testified Tuesday at the former actor's trial.
Melvin Stone, a general surgeon at Jacobi Medical Center, told jurors at the Bronx County Hall of Justice that Brancato needed a higher-than-normal dose of morphine and other pain killers when he was taken to the emergency room in December 2005 because of years of drug use.
According to Stone, the former actor was alert enough to speak with detectives despite being sedated. But Brancato's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, says a nurse, not Stone, decided that Brancato was alert enough.
Brancato faces a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Officer Daniel Enchautegui. Brancato's co-defendant, Steven Armento, was convicted of first-degree murder on Oct. 30 and later sentenced to life in prison without parole. Brancato's defense team is trying to argue that their client was not armed and was unaware Armento was carrying a weapon.
The defense went on to argue that a discrepancy in the hospital's paperwork calls into question whether Brancato was alert enough to answer questions from detectives. In the paperwork, two different numbers rating Brancato's alertness were documented.
"My testimony is that I did not write these notes," Stone said during his testimony.
Stone admitted it was sloppy handwriting and poor documentation that led to the confusion about Brancato's condition. He later called the records inaccurate.
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