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updated 12/13/2006 10:56:50 PM ET 2006-12-14T03:56:50

A construction worker charged with murdering an actress in her Manhattan apartment attacked her because he was worried about immigration officials, say court papers prosecutors filed Wednesday.

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“I lost control and kept cursing,” the papers quote Diego Pillco, a 19-year-old Ecuadorean, as saying. “She was insulting me. ... I thought she was going to call the police when she went upstairs. I was afraid of immigration.”

The papers were filed with a second-degree murder indictment at Pillco’s arraignment in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, where he pleaded not guilty in the death of Adrienne Shelly, 40.

The body of Shelly, who appeared in the 2005 movie “Factotum” with Matt Dillon, was found Nov. 1 hanging from a shower rod in the Greenwich Village apartment that she used as an office.

According to the court papers, Pillco said Shelly approached him in the apartment where he was working about trying to make less noise. The two argued, and she threatened to call police, the papers say. Fearing immigration problems if she did, he followed her up to her apartment, where he hit Shelly, the papers quote Pillco as saying. He said Shelly hit her head on a computer table, lost a pulse and stopped breathing, according to the papers.

Shelly, born Adrienne Levine, also appeared in “The Unbelievable Truth” in 1989 and “Trust” in 1990. She made her directorial debut with “Sudden Manhattan” in 1996. She wrote and directed the movie “Waitress,” starring Keri Russell.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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