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Burbank man charged in beating death of wife has violent record

A 70-year-old Burbank man charged with murder after allegedly beating his wife to death with a chair leg has a history of spousal abuse that dates to the late 1980s, court documents show.

The man, Joseph Robert Brancato, was convicted of spousal abuse in December 1989, September 2002 and December 2010, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. In June 1997, he was charged with spousal abuse but convicted on battery charges.

Brancato appeared briefly in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena for his arraignment Friday, where he was charged with murdering his 64-year-old wife, Marie Brancato. The case was transferred to the Family Violence Division in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. His arraignment was rescheduled for July 21 in downtown L.A.

Brancato remains in jail in lieu of $1.02-million bail. He was arrested at 3:20 a.m. July 5 about an hour after Marie Brancato was pronounced dead at their home in the 800 block of North Valley Street, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.


According to a Burbank police booking report, Joseph Brancato was arrested in January 2010 for allegedly hitting his wife on the head.

Burbank Police Sgt. Robert Quesada said police had been called out to the home previously for “arguments and violence.”

Neighbors in the area said they could hear the couple arguing frequently, and that police officers had been called out to the scene several times.

If convicted, Joseph Brancato could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.