The father of a boy who was 4 when he shot and killed a 6-year-old neighbor was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison after tearfully telling the court he's haunted by the shooting.
Anthony Senatore, 35, of Toms River, pleaded guilty last year to child endangerment for leaving his gun unlocked. He will serve up to 10 months in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
He was charged with keeping a loaded .22-caliber rifle unlocked in his bedroom, where his son found it in April 2013. The boy took it outside and shot Brandon Holt once in the head. The child died the next day.
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"We could not have imagined that such a horrific event would occur," Senatore told the judge. "The torment of these thoughts will occupy me throughout my existence on this earth."
Senatore apologized to the Holt family and said he thinks about Brandon every day.
Christine Holt said she and her husband used to imagine what their son would be when he grew up. "Now we can only imagine what he could have been," she said.
She said she has recurring thoughts that she didn't do her duty as a mother.
"I couldn't protect him. I couldn't save him. It's my job. I would have given anything to do so," she said.