A 20-year-old Topeka man pleaded no contest Monday to shooting a bouncer at a former Lawrence bar last March.
Dante Marcus Fields had faced an Aug. 1 trial on aggravated battery, theft and possession of marijuana charges, but prosecutors on Monday amended the case to one count each of aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
Terrance Fowler, 30, of Lawrence, testified at an April preliminary hearing that he received treatment for a bullet wound on the left side of his abdomen after a struggle with Fields about 1:30 a.m. March 17 in the parking lot outside the former Taste Lounge, Bar and Grill, 804 W. 24th St.
Prosecutor David Melton, a chief assistant district attorney, said Fowler confronted Fields in the parking lot for stealing a tip jar from the bar. Fields eventually pointed a handgun at Fowler and shot him during a physical struggle.
Lawrence police arrested Fields in a vehicle in west Lawrence minutes later, and they recovered the gun he had thrown out of the car’s window.
Melton said prosecutors at the Aug. 27 sentencing would ask District Judge Kay Huff to sentence Fields to serve 21 months in prison based on his criminal history. Under the terms of the plea agreement, defense attorney Tom Frost can ask Huff to grant Fields probation. After the shooting and other incidents at Taste, the city sought to revoke the owner’s liquor license, which he later surrendered, although a state regulator eventually revoked it as well.