David Andrew Arnstrong pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an NBCUniversal executive at Armstrong’s home.
He made the plea before San Fernando Superior Court Judge Beverly O’Connell during a hearing on Wednesday. He is facing probation to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov.30.
Armstrong is accused of fatally shooting Brian Russel Kaplon in the chest with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle during a gathering on St. Patrick’s Day of this year.
According to authorities, Armstrong was showing Kaplon the rifle in the garage of Armstrong’s home when the weapon discharged. He was arrested after allegedly making conflicting statements about the incident.
Jim Blatt, Armstrong’s attorney, argued that the shooting was a tragic accident involving two friends. It happened after a night of drinking and laughing and there was no sign of “a disagreement or anger.”
“At the time of the incident, my client had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15%, which is approximately double the legal limit for driving,” Blatt said.
Armstrong had originally been charged with murder, which meant he could have faced a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. Since he pled to involuntary manslaughter, Judge O’Connell could sentence him to probation or as much as 14 years in state prison.
“It’s been horrific and surreal,” Kristie Kaplon said last month. “Losing my husband in such a horrific manner is something nobody should have to go through. I just want justice for Brian.”
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