On Monday, a judge had to figure out how much a New Jersey child’s death in 2013 was worth to his parents.
In 2014, Anthony Senatore pleaded guilty on child endangerment charges after his 4-year-old boy shot his 6-year-old friend at his New Jersey home. He got three years in prison, but only had to serve nine months.
Now, the case has come back to haunt him, as the Washington Post reported.
A New Jersey judge ordered Senatore and his wife, Melissa, to pay $572,588.26 in damages to the parents of slain 4-year-old, Brandon Holt, NJ.com reported.
Senatore had admitted to keeping a loaded 22-caliber rifle beneath his bed, which is where his 4-year-old son found it. His son shot Brandon in the head during a game of “pretend shooting” outside their Toms River home in 2013.
Senatore had already served nine months in prison in the criminal case. “When the gun went off I turned around, realized what gun it had been so I immediately removed it from his hands,” he said. “My daughter had came around the side of my house and said, “Dad, Brandon was shot.'”
The boy later died in the hospital.
“He was laying on the bench like the seat laying down… he was bleeding,” mother Christine Holt told CBS NY. “I was just rubbing his legs telling him I was there, telling him to breath ’cause he was trying to breath… I just kept telling him I loved him.”
Ronald Hold, the victim’s father, added that he “could see [his] son’s eye really swollen and trying to catch his breath.”
— CTV News (@CTVNews) February 5, 2015
Christine Holt said it isn’t about the money. “I just want everyone to now just lock up your guns. That’s what it was about today– just lock up your guns,” she said.
The judge still has to rule on punitive damages against the Senatores, but he said it would be based on their ability to pay. He gave lawyers 30 days to determine their financial assets, NJ.com reported.
Last week, it was reported that a 5-year-old girl shot and killed herself while playing with her father’s loaded gun in Louisiana. Her father had went to take a shower and that’s when “he heard a gunshot,” a police officer told NBC affiliate WSDU-TV.
“Safety, everything is safety. If you’re the owner of a weapon, buy a safe box, a gun safe. That’s the way it is. Teach your kids. Teach your family about it,” sheriff’s Lt. Greg Baker said.
Gun safety organization Everytownresearch.com has said that an average of 62 kids under the age of 14 were shot and killed in unintentional shootings each year .
According to the site:
Federal data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that between 2007 and 2011, an average of 62 children age 14 and under died each year in unintentional shootings. By this measure, American children are sixteen times more likely to be killed in unintentional shootings than their peers in other high-income countries.
It noted that the majority of the deaths took place in a home or vehicle owned by the family of the child, saying:
About two-thirds of these unintended deaths — 65 percent — took place in a home or vehicle that belonged to the victim’s family, most often with guns that were legally owned but not secured. Another 19 percent took place in the home of a relative or friend of the victim.
More than two-thirds of these tragedies could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly and prevented children from accessing them. Of the child shooting deaths in which there was sufficient information available to make the determination, 70 percent (62 of 89 cases) could have been prevented if the firearm had been stored locked and unloaded. By contrast, incidents in which an authorized user mishandled a gun — such as target practice or hunting accidents — constituted less than thirty percent of the incidents.