SAN FERNANDO (CBS) — A Porter Ranch man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge stemming from last month’s shooting death of a childhood friend.

David Andrew Armstrong, 32, is charged in the March 18 killing of 32- year-old Brian Russell Kaplon, a digital distribution executive with NBCUniversal.

Armstrong was ordered to surrender his passport but remains free on $1 million bail pending his next appearance in San Fernando Superior Court on May 24.

The shooting occurred about 12:45 a.m. March 18 in the garage of Armstrong’s Porter Ranch home in the 20000 block of Vercelli Way, where both men had apparently been drinking at a St. Patrick’s Day party.

Kaplon died from at least one shot to the chest fired from an AR-15, a semiautomatic, civilian version of a U.S. military’s M16. Most fire .223- caliber bullets.

Authorities said Armstrong kept a collection of guns in the garage.

An attorney for Armstrong has said the shooting was accidental.

“There was no intent ever to harm his best friend. This was an accident based on two friends who were drinking and not following the proper safety precautions in the handling of a rifle,” lawyer James Blatt told the Los Angeles Times last month.

He said Armstrong called 911 after the shooting and tried to save Kaplon, who was married with one child and twins due in May.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. Covina James says:

    I’m sure you think that about every crime. Why should this one be any different?

  2. WH Jones says:

    No, I realize that sometimes the criminals are Mexicans.

    1. Vanessa B. L.A> Baby says:

      There are criminals in every race not just “Mexican” how ignorant are you people? Let’s talk about all those white kids that start shooting other kids in school just because they “get made fun of” I call them criminals.
      What about in the east coast there’s so many black people over there and i’m sure a lot are criminals.
      How about those rednecks that produce METH-Their criminals.
      Get over yourself there’s always the good and the bad. PERIOD!!!!

  3. Blackman 2010 says:

    An AR-15!!! How did he get his hands on that! That thing will literally destroy whatever is in his path.

  4. meggafish says:

    Why waste all the time with charging this guy and using his time. If the facts are as stated he’ll be acquitted. If he had an affair with the other’s wife or vice versa,, if he were to gain from his friends death…. it seems so much court room action is a make work project for legions of public prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers. DUI’s Drug Laws etc are a financial bonanza for the legal profession and more and more everything gets “taken to court”.

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