Phoenix man sentenced for fatally shooting friend

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Joe Colter said the fatal shooting of his friend Wednesday was an accident. Joe Colter said the fatal shooting of his friend Wednesday was an accident.

A Phoenix man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for fatally shooting his friend at a Glendale apartment.

Judge Bruce Cohen sentenced Joe Autry Colter, 21, on Friday morning, according to Arizona Superior Court spokeswoman Karen Arra.

Colter had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

He was one of four people who met police at the apartment near 55th Avenue and Camelback Road just before midnight on June 12, 2013. He told officers he accidentally shot his friend and that his friend needed medical help, according to a court document.

His friend later died at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.

Colter said he had purchased a 9 mm handgun from a classified ad website, Backpage, about three months ago to protect himself and was joking around with his friend while they were hanging out and playing video games, according to the document.

He said he pulled the gun, racked the slide and ejected what he thought was the only bullet in the gun, according to the document. He said he forgot that he left the magazine in the gun and a second round was chambered.

He said he pointed the gun at his friend in jest, pulled the trigger and expected to hear the click of an empty chamber. Instead, the gun fired and struck his friend in the chest, according to the document.

Colter said he began to immediately administer first aid on the man he described as a close friend.

Two other witnesses corroborated Colter's story and said the shooting was not the result of a fight or argument, according to the documents.

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