LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Porter Ranch businessman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for fatally shooting a childhood friend who worked as an NBCUniversal executive.

David Andrew Armstrong pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter for the shooting of his friend, 32-year-old Brian Russell Kaplon, following a small St. Patrick’s Day party.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports.

Armstrong was also ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution to the victim’s family.

Defense attorney James Blatt previously said his client “has always contended this was an accident.”

Kaplon had gone to Armstrong’s home in the gated Sorrento neighborhood in Porter Ranch on the night of March 18 to visit his friend, Blatt said. Armstrong was showing Kaplon an AR-15, a civilian version of the M16 rifle, in his garage around 12:45 a.m. when the weapon discharged, striking the digital distribution executive in the chest, the attorney said.

Blatt said both men had been drinking.

The men’s wives were best friends, Blatt said, and the husbands had known each other since the fifth grade.

Armstrong was initially charged with murder, which could have brought a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Kaplon’s widow has said she was unsatisfied with the plea deal. The couple had a toddler daughter at the time of the shooting, and she was pregnant with twins.

“Nothing’s going to bring Brian back,” Kristi Kaplon said. “I mean, his children also miss him. The 3-year-old has separation issues… Nothing they can ever do to Dave will be justice enough for me — nothing.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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