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NJ man pleads not guilty in boy’s gun death case

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — The father of a 4-year-old boy who shot to death a 6-year-old neighbor with his father’s unsecured gun has rejected a plea bargain that would have required him to serve seven years in prison.

Anthony Senatore of Toms River pleaded not guilty Monday to six counts of child endangerment.

The 34-year-old Senatore is accused of keeping a loaded .22-caliber rifle unsecured in his bedroom. That’s where his son found it in April, took it outside, and shot 6-year-old Brandon Holt once in the head.

Senator’s lawyer says his client is “deeply horrified over what took place and feels awful about it.” But the lawyer says Senatore should not have been charged with a crime, saying the case belongs in civil court.

Senatore did not speak during the hearing.