Collins sentenced following guilty pleas

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A former Greencastle man facing charges of animal cruelty and child battery in two separate cases entered a guilty plea in Putnam Superior Court Wednesday.

Kenneth J. Collins, 25, who now resides in Illinois, was in court to enter changes of plea in both cases and for sentencing.

In a hearing that saw no contention between prosecution and defense, Judge Charles "Denny" Bridges handed down an 18-month sentence, all suspended except for the 92 days of jail time Collins has already been credited.

Bridges sentenced Collins to one year for animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor, and 18 months for child battery, a Class D felony.

The sentences will be served concurrently.

With all parties having reviewed the pre-sentence investigation, both Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter and defense attorney John Razumich said they agreed with probation officer Teresa Parrish's advisory sentence included in the investigation.

"This is Mr. Collins' first run-in with the law," Razumich said. "He is young and capable of being rehabilitated."

Bridges also seemed to concur, sentencing Collins to no further jail time and saying it is acceptable for Collins to serve the probation in Illinois.

His only stipulation was the addition of anger management classes as a term of probation.

Collins was originally arrested on Aug. 12, 2012 when Greencastle Police were called to an apartment after a neighbor reported hearing a dog being beaten. The witness later reportedly observed a dead dog on the back porch of a residence occupied by Collins and girlfriend Heather Danielle Burger.

The nine-month-old puppy was already dead by the time police officers arrived on the scene, their report notes.

Court records indicate Collins became upset with the dog because it had been chewing on a pair of his Air Jordan sneakers, as well as shoes belonging to Burger's daughter.

Collins told police he "punched the dog in the stomach one time," and said the dog "began to yelp" and ran under the couch.

He also told police when he pulled the dog out from under the furniture, he noticed it "having trouble breathing" with blood coming out of its mouth.

Officer Eric Vaughan asked Collins to show him the shoes on which the animal had been chewing.

"As I looked over the two pairs of shoes," Vaughan noted, "I observed very minimal damage to the back of one (shoe) of each pair."

Having posted bond in the case, he landed back in the Putnam County Jail on March 28, when he smacked the bare buttocks of a four-year-old boy. The whipping resulted in bruises still visible on the child at least one hour and 20 minutes afterward, according to Greencastle Police.

The incident happened with a number of adults and children gathered at a Greencastle apartment.

The child allegedly refused to help pick up toys, at which time Collins spanked him.

When the child began to kick and scream, the boy's mother said, Collins picked him up by his ankles, at which time the boy punched Collins in the genitals.

At this point, Collins took the boy into another room and smacked his bare bottom several times.

Collins told Greencastle police the mother had given permission to spank the child.