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Prosecutors file additional charge in case of slain NBCUniversal executive

May 24, 2011 |  3:26 pm

Prosecutors filed a second felony charge Tuesday against a Chatsworth man accused of fatally shooting an NBCUniversal executive. 

David Andrew Armstrong already had been charged with murder in the St. Patrick's Day shooting that left Brian Russell Kaplon dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office Tuesday amended the criminal complaint, adding a charge of involuntary manslaughter, said spokeswoman Jane Robison.

Armstrong faces up to 50 years to life in prison if he is convicted of murder as well as the sentence enhancement for using a gun. He remains free on $1-million bail and is due to return to court May 25.

Armstrong, who works at his father-in-law's foam packaging company, was arrested days after Kaplon visited his home in the 20000 block of Vercelli Way, police said. The two men were in the garage when Kaplon was shot in the chest with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.

According to police, Armstrong was showing Kaplon the rifle when a round from the weapon discharged. James Blatt, Armstrong's attorney, told The Times that a second bullet was found lodged in the ceiling of the garage.

Kaplon, an executive in the finance department at NBCUniversal, was described by friends and co-workers as affable and creative. He was married and had one child, with twins due this month.

LAPD investigators arrested Armstrong based on his conflicting statements as well as additional evidence that investigators did not reveal.

Blatt said the evidence will show that the shooting was a tragic accident involving two friends who had been drinking at Armstrong's home.

At the time of the incident, Armstrong had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, nearly double the legal limit for driving, Blatt said. He said the defense has turned over cellphone records from Amstrong's wife and mother-in-law. The women and Armstrong had been reinterviewed by the LAPD.

-- Andrew Blankstein (Follow on Twitter via @anblanx)