SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man whose son was at their home with a 17-year-old friend who shot himself to death with a loaded rifle left in the defendant's kitchen pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of criminal storage of a loaded firearm.
Kevin Brennick, 49, faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
The unlawful storage charge has as its premise that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that a child was likely to gain access to the firearm without parental permission and thereby caused death or great bodily injury.
"This is a charge that we don't see very frequently," Deputy District Attorney Rachel Cano said outside the courtroom.
Brennick -- who is out of custody on his own recognizance -- will be back in court Nov. 28 for a readiness conference and on Dec. 11 for a preliminary hearing.
He is charged in connection with the death last year of Luke Lipscomb, who shot himself between the eyes on Nov. 4, 2011, in Brennick's home on Midland Road. The Poway High School junior died at a hospital two weeks later.
The loaded .22-caliber rifle was left in Brennick's kitchen, according to investigators, who declined to say whether the defendant had a firearms license. No adults were present at the time of the shooting.
According to court documents, Lipscomb was with his friends, including Brennick's son, smoking marijuana the night of the shooting.
Lipscomb began hallucinating -- possibly because the cannabis was laced with a designer drug -- and hit himself in the head with a frying pan before shooting himself, according to a search warrant affidavit.