Travis Fant was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for his role in a 2012 shooting outside a nightclub that injured two Western Kentucky University football players,
Fant, 24, of Bowling Green, entered an Alford plea in September to two counts of second-degree assault.
In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains innocence but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to secure a conviction from a jury. The plea is considered a guilty plea on the defendant’s criminal record.
The charges stemmed from an altercation at the Lava Lounge nightclub that spilled into a parking lot April 15, 2012, after the WKU spring football game that year.
The club, now out of business, hosted a special event that night.
WKU football players Tevin Holliman and Ricardo Singh, who were not part of the altercation, were each wounded by a gunshot during the melee and treated for injuries that proved not to be life-threatening.
Bowling Green police arrested Fant two days after the incident. Witnesses identified Fant as the gunman who fired rounds into the parking lot, and ballistics tests on a firearm found in his possession at the time of his arrest linked the weapon to the shooting, according to authorities.
Singh, of Auburndale, Fla., just completed his junior season with the team as a defensive back. Holliman, of Tucker, Ga., is no longer with the team.
Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said Holliman’s jaw was shattered by the gunshot and essentially amounted to a career-ending injury.
“These were two young men who worked extremely hard all their lives to get to that point,” Cohron said of Holliman and Singh.
Fant, who had been released on bond pending the outcome of the charges against him, sought to be probated by Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson. He had been jailed for 282 days before his release.
On Monday, Fant said he had been mentoring a youth with cerebral palsy and would continuing doing that and resume his education if he were to be probated.
“I want to extend my deepest apologies to the men who were injured and their families,” Fant said. “When I was released, I tried my hardest to stay out of trouble and stopped hanging around the people I thought were my friends.”
Fant’s attorneys, David Broderick and Jason Hays of Bowling Green, pointed out that he had the support of family and friends and had been working in Louisville while out on bond.
Fant’s father, George Fant II and brother, WKU basketball player George Fant III, spoke briefly in support of Travis Fant’s bid for probation. WKU men’s basketball coach Ray Harper attended the hearing and sat with Fant’s family and supporters as well.
Wilson, however, denied Fant’s request and ordered him to prison, citing the serious nature of the offenses.
Cohron said Fant, who had been charged originally with two counts of first-degree assault, could have faced up to 40 years in prison if he had been found guilty at a jury trial.
“Sometimes, good people do things that are irreversible and, unfortunately, that’s where we are today,” Cohron said.