Kim Allen England, 56, made his initial appearance in Putnam Circuit Court Thursday afternoon following his arrest last Sunday morning on property at North Putnam Middle School/High School.
No reason was offered during the brief court appearance for England's decision to hunt rabbits on school property or his presence in Putnam County at all.
Deputy Prosecutor Justin Long asked Senior Judge T. Edward Page, who was filling in for the day for Judge Matt Headley, to impose a no-contact order between England and North Putnam Schools and their property.
"Do you have any reason, sir, to be in Putnam County?" Judge Page asked.
"No, sir," England responded tersely.
"Do you have any relatives in Putnam County? Do you have any business in Putnam County?" Page asked of England.
Each time he replied with "No, sir."
"Then I'm going to ask, as a condition of your pretrial release,"
the judge ordered, "that you stay out of Putnam County."
The only exceptions would be to return for court hearings or arrange for legal counsel or to drive through the county en route to another destination.
A not-guilty plea was entered Thursday for England on the four charges he faces following his arrest by Indiana Conservation Officer Christopher Springstun. Those charges include:
-- Possession of a firearm on school property, a Class D felony.
-- Failure to procure a hunting license, a Class C misdemeanor.
-- Use of private land for hunting purposes without the consent of the property owner, a Class C misdemeanor.
-- Illegal taking of a wild animal (three rabbits), a Class C misdemeanor.
England also faces the non-criminal offense of failure to wear hunter orange, a Class D infraction.
England, who said he resides on the west side of Indianapolis and is employed at Crown Hill Cemetery, was being held on the standard Class D felony bond ($10,000 surety or $1,000 cash).
Judge Page set further proceedings in the case for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 21 in Putnam Circuit Court.
The illegal hunting situation began to unfold about 11:30 a.m. Dec. 23 as Springstun was patrolling near North Putnam and heard a gunshot.
The conservation officer had already located a suspicious vehicle in the school parking lot, and followed tracks left in the snow near the vehicle.
The footprints eventually led past two obvious signs indicating it was school property, one labeling the North Putnam Community Nature Trail and the other indicating it was the North Putnam Outdoor Learning Center and specifying no hunting is allowed on school property.
The officer reportedly observed England walking within 10 yards of the softball field and football practice field, at once believing him to be hunting.
"I identified myself as an Indiana conservation officer," Springstun states in the probable cause affidavit, "and inquired on what he was doing."
England advised he was "out hiking for the day," Springstun said.
However, in patting down the suspect, he discovered a Taures Night Court Judge pistol loaded with three live .410 000 buck shells and two spent shells of the same caliber.
Inside the suspect's backpack he found three dead rabbits wrapped in a plastic bag. Also in the backpack were 12 more shells, food, water and various hunting items.
"Kim admitted that he had been hunting on the school property," Springstun stated in court documents, "and that he had killed the three rabbits. He advised he thought the property was a public hunting area.
"I advised him," Springstun added, "that the property was owned by North Putnam Schools and was closed to any hunting, and that it is illegal to possess a firearm on school property.
"It should have been clear to him it was a school because he drove past the school sign to park his vehicle."
England admitted shooting "five or six times" during the morning, court records indicate.
He reportedly told the officer that someone he met at a sporting goods store told him it was a good place to hunt. However, he said he could not remember the name of the person or recall the name of the store, the probable cause affidavit adds.
At the time of the incident, the congregation of the Bainbridge Christian Church was conducting a service inside the school and the parking lot was full of cars.
Springstun said he contacted North Putnam School Supt. Dan Noel about the incident immediately after England was taken into custody.
"Dan expressed great concern over the incident," he said, "and stated that he would pursue charges for hunting without consent."
The .410 revolver and three dead rabbits were confiscated from England at the time of his arrest.