Man sentenced to prison for accidentally shooting best friend

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Dothan, AL (WTVY)-- A young Houston County man will serve a 14 year prison sentence for accidentally killing his best friend.

Fisher Shipes is led from a Houston County Courtroom after a judge sentenced him to 14 years for accidentally shooting his best friend.

On May 19, 2018 Fisher Shipes, during a party that included alcohol consumption, aimed a shotgun he believed to be unloaded at 19-year old Christian Mullins. He pulled the trigger.

“It's a sad situation,” said Rehobeth High School Assistant Principal Matt Ream, who coached Mullins high school baseball team.

Ream and others testified in Wednesday's hearing about how the death has impacted their lives. He told Houston County Judge Butch Binford not a day goes by that he doesn't think of Mullins.

Afterwards, he remembered his player and friend in an interview with WTVY. “Just a good kid, a great player to be around, a great teammate,” he said.

In court, Shipes apologized to Mullins' family and said he was ready to accept punishment for his actions.

One thing that may have swayed Binford's decision is that Shipes, after shooting Mullins, who was still alive, dragged him outside the home where that shooting occurred. He then claimed that a person passing on a bicycle shot his friend but later recanted that story.

Prosecutors asked for a stiff sentence---the maximum is 20 years for manslaughter.

“I'm glad it is now resolved for family, friends, and members of the community that knew (Mullins),” Houston County Assistant District Attorney Seth Brooks reacted.

As for Ream, he called the shooting a tragic event. “We just pray for everybody involved,” he said.

Now age 20, Shipes could be eligible for parole in about three years.