A Toms River man charged for allowing his 4-year-old son access to the gun that the boy used to kill a 6-year-old playmate has waived his right to an initial court appearance, his attorney said Wednesday.
Anthony Senatore, 33, is free on $100,000 bail. He is charged with several counts of endangering the welfare of a child along with a disorderly person’s offense for leaving five guns — including the loaded rifle used to Brandon Holt, 6 — accessible to his three children.
Attorney Robert Ebberup released a statement Wednesday in which he criticized the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for arresting his client in front of his family while they ate dinner.
The lawyer says Senatore would have voluntarily turned himself in to face charges of child endangerment and enabling access by a minor to a loaded firearm.
But acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said the arrest was made in “an appropriate and thoroughly professional manner.”
The office “has a practice of longstanding that we do not negotiate the surrender of defendants,” McClain said in a statement. “We feel that to engage in such a practice is to create two classes of defendants based upon the ability to pay an attorney. We feel that such a practice is unfair to those persons accused of crimes who cannot afford an attorney.”
He also said New Jersey has no protocol requiring a law enforcement agency to offer a defendant the opportunity to surrender prior to arrest in a criminal case.
The Atlantic County prosecutor is conducting the investigation because of a conflict in the Ocean County office.
Authorities say Senatore’s son took a loaded .22-caliber rifle from a bedroom on April 8 and fatally wounded Holt while they were playing outdoors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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