Lawrence crime, fire, courts coverage
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A 20-year-old Topeka man has been found guilty in a shooting that left two men in critical condition in Lawrence earlier this year.
Erick S. Smith pleaded guilty today in Douglas County District Court to two charges of aggravated battery stemming from an early-morning shooting on May 19 in the 800 block of Greever Terrace.
According to court testimony in July, Smith shot the two men during a fight that involved several Topeka residents who had just left a nearby nightclub. The shooting left both victims hospitalized for several days; both survived.
While Smith was prosecuted in Douglas County, a second man arrested with him in the case, Steven M. Gigger, 29, also of Topeka, is facing federal gun charges for his role in the incident. Both men were arrested in Shawnee County one day after Tommy D. Andrews, 33, and Michael A. Holford, 27, both also of Topeka, were shot.
In a pretrial hearing in July, Andrews testified that he and his brother, Michael, were caught in the middle of a lovers' quarrel between their sister and Gigger. Andrews said he and his brother were shot by a person riding in a car with Gigger after their sister confronted Gigger about their relationship at 3:40 a.m. on Greever Terrace.
The confrontation occurred about three blocks north of the bar Club Magic, at 804 West 24th St., which the group had just left. After the shooting, one of the wounded men drove back to the bar seeking help and crashed into a police car that was at the scene for an unrelated incident.
Smith could face a prison sentence of between 38 months and 14 years for each count, depending on his criminal history. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 18.
Gigger, who has spent time in Kansas prisons after being convicted of aggravated robbery in Shawnee County in 2002, was indicted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of a firearm with the serial number obliterated. His case is still pending in federal court, and he could face up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.