A 70-year-old Burbank man accused of beating his wife to death appeared in court Wednesday in a wheelchair after suffering from a fractured shoulder and back spasms while in jail, his attorney said.
Joseph Brancato faces murder charges after allegedly beating his 65-year-old wife, Marie Brancato, with a chair leg. His public defender, Kasie Lee, told a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Wednesday that her client has been unable to attend two previous hearings due to his medical issues.
Brancato’s preliminary hearing was pushed back to Oct. 17, the third time in two weeks that the date has changed.
County Deputy District Atty. Norman Hearon said he was still waiting on evidence, including the coroner’s report.
Brancato has remained in custody since July on $1.02-million bail.
Lee said her client — who was wheeled into the courtroom by a sheriff’s deputy, his left arm tucked underneath his prison jumpsuit — fractured his shoulder during a fall in jail and had back spasms. She told the judge that he requires more medical care.
Superior Court Judge Edmund Clarke ordered jail officials to stay on top of Brancato’s medical needs.
Lee said she would check in with her client in a few days and notify the court if his medical needs weren’t being adequately addressed.
Marie Brancato was found dead July 5 in the couple’s home on North Valley Street. Police said she had been bleeding profusely from what appeared to be a traumatic injury to the back of her head.