MICHIGAN CITY — A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Decoys bar owner Gordon Gardner on Tuesday morning in LaPorte Superior Court.

Gardner has been charged with three felonies following a fight early Oct. 29 in his bar, Decoys Bar & Grill, 1729 U.S. 20, Trail Creek, which injured a woman.

According to court records, Gardner waived his initial hearing Tuesday morning, and the court entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. An omnibus hearing was set for Dec. 28.

Police responded to the bar about 2:24 a.m. Oct. 29 following a call for a disturbance. The Trail Creek officer who arrived found 15 to 20 people in the parking lot who appeared to be in a physical altercation. A total of 10 police units from Michigan City, LaPorte County and Long Beach also responded to the call.

Police found a woman bleeding from her mouth, according to records. She told police that Gardner had thrown a liquor bottle at her and it struck her, causing her lip to tear open and a tooth to break. She sought medical attention at a nearby hospital.

She told police, according to court records, that the incident started when the woman paid the tab with her debit card, but did not put a tip on the debit card. She said she told Gardner she intended to leave the tip in cash. Gardner became upset and began making comments to the woman. A man in the group poured a drink on the bar. As they were leaving, Gardner allegedly threw the bottle.

Gardner, who police said smelled of alcohol, told police he had thrown the bottle, but intended to throw it at the man and mistakenly hit the woman.

Gardner has been charged with aggravated battery, battery and criminal recklessness. He turned himself into police on Friday and was held on a $25,000 cash bond. He has since been released on bond.

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Porter County reporter

Joyce has been a staff writer for The Times for more than 20 years. She is the municipal and education reporter for Porter County. She is an amateur genealogist and writes a blog, Remember your Roots, appearing online each Thursday.