DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man accused of trying to cover up the accidental shooting death of his best friend at a house party was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison.

Fisher Corbin Shipes, 20, had initially claimed an unknown black man had shot his friend, but he later admitted to the killing and pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter. Shipes is white.

Shipes apologized to the family of Christian Mullins, 19, in a Dothan courtroom during sentencing, news outlets reported. Mullins was found with a shotgun wound to his abdomen in May 2018.

“He was my best friend, and it is hard to live without Christian,” Shipes said, according to the Dothan Eagle. “I deserve to be punished for what happened, and I accept that.”

Shipes thought the shotgun was unloaded, but police said he fired at Mullins from across the room. Underage alcohol use was involved, according to police.

Shipes dragged Mullins’ body outside after the shooting, police said. Shipes claimed he was trying to get his friend to the hospital, but prosecutors said he was trying to corroborate his claim that a black male had shot Mullins and fled, the Dothan Eagle reported.

Houston County Circuit Judge Butch Binford took that initial report into account during sentencing, the Dothan Eagle reported.

State attorney Seth Brooks requested the maximum sentence of 20 years, but defense attorney Willis Ellis asked the judge for mercy.