Defendant Surrenders to Authorities
MINOT – A trial scheduled to begin Tuesday was cancelled following the entering of guilty pleas Monday by Theophris Drake, 40, Birmingham, Alabama. Drake is charged with five felonies stemming from the shooting of two individuals at the Dakota Lounge on February 4 of this year.
Drake, who has been free on bond, turned himself in to authorities Monday morning. He was escorted by a Ward County Sheriff’s Department deputy into a courtroom Monday wearing handcuffs, leg shackles, and orange flip-flops issued by the Ward County jail.
Judge Douglas Mattson read all five charges to Drake, asking for a guilty or not guilty plea to each offense. Quietly, Drake responded “guilty” to all charges. They are Aggravated Assault-Firing/Hurting Firearm-Permanent Loss or Impair; Aggravated Assault-Firing/Hurting Firearm-Adult Victim; Terrorizing-with a Dangerous Weapon; Reckless Endangerment-Extreme Indifference; and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
The most serious charge is a B felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The remaining charges are C felonies with the possibility of 5 years imprisonment.
Following his guilty pleas, Mattson asked Drake if he felt comfortable moving forward. Drake responded, “Yes sir.”
Mattson followed that exchange by asking Drake if he understood that by pleading guilty, he was “giving up the right to trial.”
“Yes,” said Drake.
State’s Attorney Rozanna Larson told the court that one of two men shot in the incident had surgery to repair abdominal damage that doctors said was “permanent” to his bowel and stomach. The shooting victim also suffered a fractured pelvis and injury to his colon. A second shooting victim recovered from a bullet that glanced of a rib.
According to Minot Police, the incident started when a friend of Drake’s became involved in an altercation with a Dakota Lounge patron and Drake responded by discharging several shots from a handgun.
Police say when a Dakota Lounge employee confronted Drake as he was leaving the facility, Drake pointed the handgun at him and threatened to shoot.
Drake and his friend fled the scene and were apprehended by police at nearby Cash Wise grocery. The handgun allegedly used in the shooting was secreted nearby but discovered by police.
Mattson ordered a Pre-sentence Investigation but did not schedule a sentencing date for Drake. The PSI could take 90 days. Drake was returned to the Ward County jail.