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Businessman gets 7 years for killing NBCUniversal executive

December 1, 2011 |  9:32 pm

Photo: Brian Russell Kaplon. Credit: KTLA-TVA Porter Ranch businessman was sentenced to seven years in state prison and ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution for fatally shooting an NBCUniversal executive with an assault rifle during a St. Patrick's Day gathering, authorities said Thursday.

David Armstrong, 32, pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Brian Russell Kaplon, who left behind his wife and three children -- including fraternal twins born after he was slain.

In sentencing Armstrong , Superior Court Judge Beverly O’Connell cited the use of the gun and other actions by the defendant on the night of the shooting, including a failure to immediately call authorities and inconsistencies in police interviews.

Kaplon's widow, Kristie Kaplon, said she had been close to Armstrong's wife since childhood, but she denied any characterization that Armstrong and Kaplon were close friends and said her family was devastated by the loss of her husband.

"Nothing will ever bring Brian back," Kristie Kaplon said. "I will never get to kiss him again. My daughter's face will never light up when he walks in the room. Our twins will not have the opportunity to know the man that loved them unconditionally even before they were ever born."

Authorities said that on St. Patrick's Day, Kalplon had gone to Armstrong's gated Porter Ranch home for a haircut. Armstrong was showing Kaplon an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle in the garage of his home when the weapon discharged.

Prosecutors originally charged Armstrong, who worked as an executive at his father-in-law's foam packaging business, with murder. With that charge, he had faced the possibility of 35 years to life in prison.

But Armstrong's attorney, James Blatt, argued that the shooting was a tragic accident. He said his client and Kaplon had been drinking and laughing before the shooting and there was no sign of a disagreement or anger.

He said his client "can't take the bullet back" but was "sincerely remorseful for what has happened." But in September, Kaplon's family said Armstrong and his wife had "shown no remorse" and not apologized.

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--Andrew Blankstein

Twitter.com/anblanx

Photo: Brian Russell Kaplon. Credit: KTLA-TV

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