A Bowling Green man who was arrested after a shooting outside O’Charley’s restaurant left two people dead last year pleaded guilty in multiple criminal cases.
Terry Stice II, 45, pleaded guilty Monday in Warren Circuit Court to two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and first-degree persistent felony offender in the Jan. 24, 2020, incident.
Stice admitted firing shots at a vehicle carrying Nick Robey and Kayla Penny as it left the parking lot of the Scottsville Road business, moments after shooting and killing Elijsha Taylor, 21, who had just fatally shot Stice’s friend Michael Russell, 40. It was the culmination of a conflict that began in the restaurant.
In court Monday, Stice’s court-appointed attorney, Deidre Bowen of the state Department of Public Advocacy, said Stice fired shots at the SUV carrying Robey and Penny after it had struck him.
Questioned by Warren Circuit Judge John Grise about the tampering charge, Stice said he destroyed the 9 mm handgun from the shooting incident “so it never could be used again, period.”
The Bowling Green Police Department, which investigated the incident, didn’t recover the weapon.
When police arrested Stice, he was in possession of about 4.5 grams of methamphetamine and a .22-caliber handgun, resulting in charges of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and a second count of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.
Stice pleaded guilty to those charges Monday as well.
The first-degree wanton endangerment counts to which Stice pleaded guilty were reduced from original charges of attempted murder in his plea agreement.
As a first-degree persistent felony offender, Stice faced a maximum possible penalty of life in prison, but his plea agreement called for a 15-year prison term, to be served after he completes a four-year sentence on unrelated charges.
Police learned the incident in the parking lot came about after Russell’s daughter, Paige Russell, saw Robey sitting in a booth near her seat at the bar.
At a preliminary hearing last year in Warren District Court, BGPD Detective Eric Stroud testified that Paige Russell believed Robey had been involved in a robbery a year earlier in which she was the victim.
After seeing Robey, Paige Russell notified her father and Stice, who came to O’Charley’s.
Stroud said there was a brief exchange of words between Stice and Robey, who contacted Taylor and asked him to come to Bowling Green from Franklin, believing that a confrontation was going to occur.
In the parking lot, Taylor shot Michael Russell, and then Stice shot Taylor, striking him three times.
Taylor died at the scene. Michael Russell was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead the next day.
Police found at least 12 spent rounds at the scene and Taylor’s gun was found next to his body.
The SUV carrying Robey and Penny returned to the scene later that night, and police found no weapons in the vehicle, Stroud testified last year.
“Robey said he was being shot at and he was scared as his reasons for leaving,” Stroud testified in 2020.
Police became aware of Stice’s involvement after speaking with members of the Russell family.
Stroud testified Stice claimed to have thrown the gun he used into a field on Three Springs Road, but the firearm was never located.
Stice was not charged in Taylor’s death.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.