PHOENIX (AP) _ A man was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill his stepfather _ a Wild West quick-draw performer known as Black Bart.

Kenneth Ashton Cottini, 25, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the plot with his mother to get life insurance money.

Cottini's mother, Carole Gold, was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced last week to life in prison.

Black Bart _ whose real name was Charles Gold _ was found riddled with bullets on the kitchen floor of his Phoenix home in October 1992. His gun was still in his belt.

During the sentencing hearing, Cottini's attorney, Daniel Raynak, said Cottini only acted as a ``messenger boy'' between his mother and his drug dealer, Robert Pryor, as they plotted to kill his stepfather. Pryor testified that he was the one who hired Dan Goddard to kill Charles Gold on behalf of Cottini and Mrs. Gold.

Pryor cut a deal and is serving 20 years. Goddard was given immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony.

Prosecutors said Cottini and Mrs. Gold wanted Gold killed because they sought his $150,000 life insurance policy and control of his stables at a resort.

Gold and his troupe of gunfighters performed staged showdowns at Western-theme restaurants, rodeos and other venues, always using fake bullets.