The father of a then-4-year-old New Jersey boy who fatally shot his 6-year-old neighbor with his father's unsecured gun has pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in exchange for less jail time, NBC 4 New York has learned.
Anthony Senatore of Toms River pleaded guilty Thursday to the charges in connection with the April 2013 shooting death of Brandon Holt. Senatore's young son shot Holt once in the head with Senatore's gun -- a .22-caliber rifle the father was accused of keeping loaded, unsecured in his bedroom.
Senatore's lawyer previously said his client was "deeply horrified over what took place and feels awful about it," but that the case should've been tried in civil, not criminal, court.
Last November, Senatore rejected a plea deal that would've required him to serve seven years in prison. In exchange for the guilty plea Thursday, Senatore will serve two three-year jail terms simultaneously when he is sentenced Feb. 5.
Senatore had originally faced six counts of child endangerment -- one for each of the five unsecured firearms investigators say they found accessible to his three children and one for endangering the welfare of Holt by leaving his gun in a place where his own child could get it. .
The Holt family has filed a lawsuit against the Senatores accusing Senatore and his wife of recklessness that led to their son's death. .