MICHIGAN CITY – A new trial date has been set in the aggravated battery case against Decoy’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill owner Gordon Gardner.
For now, Gardner is scheduled to face a jury beginning Sept. 23, although that trial date has been reset multiple times since his November 2017 arrest.
In December, a continuance was granted at the defense’s request because Gardner’s former attorney, Larry Rogers, had been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court.
His new attorney, Craig Braje, entered his appearance at Thursday’s hearing.
The previous continuance counted against the state, which requested it after the victim in the case indicated she may not be willing to testify.
According to police, Gardner admitted to having thrown a bottle of liquor at a bar patron on Oct. 29, 2017.
He reportedly told them he was aiming for a man who’d poured his drink out on the bar. However, he missed his intended target and the bottle hit a woman in the mouth instead.
The woman – who suffered a broken tooth, split lip and other facial injuries – told police she believed the altercation began when she wrote “cash” on the tip line of her receipt, causing Gardner to yell at her for not intending to tip him.
At a hearing in November, prosecutors told the court they believe the incident was motivated by Gardner’s alleged “racial hatred.” However, the judge rejected an attempt to classify the case as hate crime.
Gardner is charged with aggravated battery, battery and criminal recklessness – felony levels 3, 5 and 6, respectively.
If convicted, he could be sentenced up to 24 years in prison.
He remains free on $25,000 bond as he awaits the resolution of his case.