ST. FRANCISVILLE - A state district judge gave the maximum prison sentence - five years - Thursday to a man who earlier pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of negligent homicide in a fatal barroom shooting.

Eric Martin, 24, of Moore Lane, Ethel, was indicted for second-degree murder in the Dec. 26, 2009, shooting death of Terrence J. Brooks, 21, of Hardwood, at a now-closed Solitude bar.

Twentieth Judicial District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said in April he agreed to the reduced charge because only a few witnesses to the shooting came forward and none could say for sure that Martin fired a pistol inside the bar.

Twentieth Judicial District Judge William G. Carmichael questioned Martin under oath Thursday about his no-contest plea, noting that a pre-sentence investigation report by the state Division of Probation and Parole shows that Martin now maintains his “absolute innocence” in the killing.

Martin told the judge he did not want to withdraw the plea, although he was giving up his rights to appeal the sentence.