Chandler man pleads not guilty in girlfriend's shooting death

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Chandler man has pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend last month.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 18-year-old Eric Coulter entered his plea Wednesday. His initial pre-trial conference is set for Dec. 19.

Coulter was arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting 18-year-old Monique Cota on Oct. 15 in his bedroom.

Investigators say Coulter had assaulted Cota in an earlier incident.

Coulter claimed the shooting was an accident that occurred as he was inspecting an AR-15 rifle.

Police say Coulter's sister then hid guns that were in the house and drove him to the motel room in Mesa.

Coulter was later arrested at the hotel.