LOWELL, Mass. — A judge says he handed down a lighter penalty than prosecutors requested for a Massachusetts man who accidentally shot his friend because his actions in the aftermath may have saved that friend’s life.

The judge said Tuesday that 19-year-old Benjamin Khammanivong, of Lowell, could have worried about protecting himself, but instead rushed the wounded man to a hospital.

The judge accepted the defense’s recommendation of 18 months in jail followed by five years’ probation. Prosecutors had sought three years in state prison, calling his actions extremely reckless.

While handing down the sentence, the judge said that Khammanivong’s friend didn’t want him to serve any jail time. He also noted Khammanivong’s youth and lack of a criminal record.

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