Joshua Phillip Martin, 25, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in January. At his sentencing on Tuesday, he cried and apologized to Courtney Hilton Rhoton's family.
Rhoton, 23, died in June 2005, three days after the jolt from the defibrillator, normally used to restart patients' hearts.
Her half-sister, Chanda Lawson, told the judge Martin deserved a life sentence. "I hope when he lays down at night, he remembers those two kids don't have a mommy anymore because of the foolish thing he done," she said.
Russell County Circuit Judge Mike Moore sentenced Martin to five years in prison, but he suspended four years of the sentence, leaving Martin with just under a year still to serve. Martin had no previous criminal record.
"I hope when you get out you get on with your life," Moore said. "You have the ability to help people, and I hope you do. Courtney deserved that."