New Jersey man rejects plea deal in boy's shooting death

Nov. 18, 2013 at 3:38 PM

TOMS RIVER, N.J., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man whose son used his gun to accidentally kill a neighbor's child has turned down a plea deal that would see him serve seven years in prison.

Anthony Senatore, whose 4-year-old boy took a .22-caliber rifle from the family's home April 8 -- one of several weapons police said Senatore had left unsecured -- and carried it outside where he was playing with Brandon Holt, 6. The gun went off and shot Holt in the head outside his Toms River home. He died a day later at a New Jersey hospital.

An Ocean County grand jury returned an six-count indictment against Senatore, including three counts of five counts of second-degree child endangerment and one count of third-degree child endangerment.

Senatore's lawyer, Robert Ebberup, said his client rejected a plea deal from prosecutors that would have seen him plead guilty to two of the counts and serve seven years in prison, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Monday. Ebberup said he wants to finish the pretrial evidence discovery process to evaluate his client's chances at trial before deciding whether to enter a plea deal. Ebberup said his client does not deserve to face jail time, which would separate him from his children.

"My position right now is that we don't feel that jail is something that is appropriate," he said. "I can't comment on the plea offer. We don't accept the plea offer as it stands today. Until we have the opportunity to fully review all the discovery that's available to us, then we will make that determination."

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