Witness: Brancato was addicted to drugs in 2005

The latest defense witness in Lillo Brancato Jr.?s trial testified Friday in court, claiming Brancato was a drug addict struggling with a disease in 2005

THE BRONX - The latest defense witness in Lillo Brancato Jr.?s trial testified Friday in court, claiming Brancato was a drug addict struggling with a disease in 2005 when he was allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of Officer Daniel Enchautegui.

Charlie Magner, 42, told the jury that he drove Brancato to get drugs from the person living at 31-17 Arnow Place in Pelham Bay more than six times in 2005. Magner says he himself has been addicted to pain killers for the past 10 years, though he attended rehabilitation this past July. He also informed the jury that he gave Brancato over the counter pills occasionally.

Stephen Armento and Brancato were caught by Enchautegui as they attempted to rob the Pelham Bay home for drugs in 2005. Enchautegui was off-duty at the time, but tried to stop the men from breaking and entering when he was shot and killed. Armento was convicted of first-degree murder in late October and Brancato faces a second-degree murder charge.

Brancato is expected to take the stand on Monday and closing arguments from both sides will be presented Tuesday.

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