Thursday, October 30, 2014

Father of Child Who Shot 6-year-old Brandon Holt Pleads Guilty

TOMS RIVER, OCEAN COUNTY – A Toms River man pled guilty this morning to endangering the welfare of children by keeping unsecured firearms in his home that were accessible to children, a situation that led to the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy by the defendant’s 4-year-old son, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced today.
On Thursday, October 30, 2014, Anthony R. Senatore, 35, of McCormick Drive, Toms River, NJ, pled guilty in Ocean County Superior Court to two counts of Endangering the Welfare of Children as part of a negotiated plea agreement.
On April 8, 2013, Senatore’s 4-year-old son gained access to an unsecured .22 caliber rifle in Senatore’s bedroom and fired a single shot that struck 6-year-old neighbor, Brandon Holt, in the head. Holt was transported to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead the next day.

Following Holt’s death, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General – Division of Criminal Justice directed the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office to supersede the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and take over the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Concluding a month-long investigation by this Office, Senatore was arrested on May 13, 2013, charged with 6 counts of Endangering the Welfare of Children:
  • one count each for the five unsecured firearms found accessible to his own children, for whom he has a legal duty of care—a 2nd degree offense, and 
  • one count of Endangering the Welfare of Brandon Holt, for keeping a loaded .22 caliber rifle unsecured in a bedroom where his 4-year-old son was able to access and fire the weapon—a 3rd degree offense.
  • The charges allege that, in addition to the loaded .22 caliber rifle used to fire the fatal shot, a Stevens 12-gauge shotgun, two Harrington & Richardson shotguns and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun were all found unsecured, in close proximity to ammunition and accessible to Senatore’s own children, ages 12, 8 and 4.
Senatore was lodged in the Ocean County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash or bond bail set by Atlantic County Superior Judge Kyran Connor. Senatore later posted bail and was released.
On September 25, 2013, an Ocean County Grand Jury indicted Senatore on all six counts.
This morning, Senatore pled guilty before Ocean County Superior Court Judge Wendell Daniels to one count of 2nd degree Endangering the Welfare of Children for causing harm to the children for whom he has the legal duty of care, and to the 3rd degree Endangering the Welfare of Children charge for the harm done to Brandon Holt.
Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, Senatore will be sentenced—in the 3rd degree range on both charges—to a term of incarceration in New Jersey State prison of 3 years, the sentences to run concurrently. Further, the State will submit a consent order for the forfeiture by Senatore of his weapons and his firearms purchaser ID card.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 5, 2015. Senatore continues free on bail pending sentencing.
First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton represents the State in the matter.

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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