Chandler man gets prison in girlfriend's death

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Eric Coulter By Jennifer Thomas Eric Coulter By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Chandler man convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 20-year-old Eric Coulter was sentenced Friday.

A jury found him guilty last month after less than three days of deliberations.

Coulter was arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting 18-year-old Monique Cota in his bedroom on Oct. 15, 2011. 

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.