Matthew Buis, 39, stands accused of shooting to death Clifford Hulse, 57. Hulse was killed Tuesday.
In court Thursday, Judge Matthew Headley explained to Buis that a Class A felony carries an advisory sentence of 30 years in prison, a minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum sentence of 50 years.
When Headley asked Buis if he remembered being read his rights at the time of Buis' arrest, Buis said he did not. As Headley began to read a document that had been signed by Buis that outlined those rights, Buis interrupted Headley and said he in fact did remember.
Headley asked if Buis wanted a preliminary not guilty plea entered by the court on Buis' behalf.
"Yes I do," Buis said. "All I did was in self-defense, your honor."
Headley told Buis that was a matter he would need to discuss with his attorney.
Buis requested pauper counsel. He told Headley he has no money saved, no property to convert to cash and is currently unemployed.
Headley appointed Todd Sallee to represent Buis, and set a pretrial conference for June 10.
Per the request of Deputy Prosecutor James Hanner, Buis' bond was set at $100,000 cash only.
According to court documents, Buis and Hulse were neighbors that lived across the street from one another.
An eyewitness told police he had been playing cards with Hulse and another man before the shooting occurred. He said Buis arrived about 2 a.m., and that Buis and Hulse began arguing some time later.
Hulse ordered Buis to leave. Buis refused, the witness said, and when Hulse stood up to face Buis, Buis pulled a handgun from his pocket, court documents said. Hulse picked up a filet knife from a picnic table, and Buis fired a shot in the air over Hulse's head.
Buis fired a second shot almost immediately, the witness told police, and Hulse was struck and fell to the ground. The witness said Buis shot at Hulse from approximately 15 feet.
The witness told police Buis did not leave after shooting Hulse, but approached the witness in a threatening manner and threatened to "shoot him too."
At that point, Buis' roommate came over and ushered Buis home, court documents said.
At 3:06 a.m., Putnam County 911 received a call about a man shot with a gun. When officers arrived at the scene, a man and a woman were performing CPR on Hulse, court documents said.
Hulse was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers found the gun allegedly used in Hulse's murder in Buis' front yard.
Buis was interviewed shortly after the incident. Buis told police Hulse had accused Buis of bringing him bad luck in cards, and that was when Hulse, unprovoked, grabbed the knife and brandished it at Buis.
Buis said he attempted to leave the garage, but got tangled in a tarp. He told police he "saw Hulse approaching him face-on with the filet knife in his hand and holding it over his head as if to strike down with it."
Buis said he "feared for his life," and fired one shot, striking Hulse.
"Buis was insistent about firing only one shot," court documents said.
According to court documents, however, police found a bullet hole in the rear wall area of the garage, supporting the witness' allegation that a shot that missed Hulse was fired.
The witness also told police Buis was not attempting to leave the garage when the shooting occurred.
An autopsy report listed the cause of Hulse's death as a single gunshot wound to the mid-chest. The bullet struck an artery and Hulse bled to death.
Other witnesses told police they heard the gunshots and heard Buis "yelling angrily."