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Journal Star (Peoria, IL)

August 1, 2000


LEWISTOWN – A Canton man shot while trespassing last year pleaded guilty Monday to reckless conduct and was put on probation for two years, as was the farmer who shot him.

Kim Koller, 44, was sentenced in Fulton County Circuit Court for the misdemeanor.  He was ordered to stay away from farmer James Smith and his property. Koller also must pay $859 in court costs.

Nurses at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria told police that Koller suffered from bipolar disorder, was schizophrenic and was taking Prozac and lithium for his condition.

His girlfriend at the time told police he wasn’t properly taking his medication.  Judge Steven Bordner ruled Koller also is to remain under psychiatric care and continue taking his medication.

Smith spotted Koller in a truck in his barn about 2 miles from his rural Canton residence Aug. 21.  Before police could respond, Koller drove away from the barn and toward Smith.

Koller earlier told police he hid his pickup in the East Rawalts Road barn because he thought an airplane was flying above him and watching him.

Smith fired his rifle twice, and one shot struck Koller in the neck, police said.  Koller was hospitalized and later released.

A charge of criminal trespass was dismissed in exchange for Koller’s guilty plea.   Koller, represented by public defender John Clark of Canton, declined to comment Monday in court.

Smith initially was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card and a felony charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Smith was charged with the felony for shooting at Koller after the man had passed him and Smith no longer was in imminent danger, Fulton County State’s Attorney Ed Danner has said.

Danner dismissed those charges last week.  Instead he charged Smith with reckless conduct, saying the farmer endangered Koller by trying to keep the man from driving away from his property.

Smith pleaded innocent, but Circuit Judge Larry Heiser found him guilty and sentenced him to two years’ probation.  He also ordered him to pay court costs and $2,174 for Koller’s medical expenses.

Smith also must turn over to the sheriff’s department the .22-caliber rifle used to shoot Koller.  He will not be allowed to possess firearms during his probation.

Koller was being held in Tazewell County Jail on unrelated charges during his first scheduled court date in Fulton County. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery and a felony charge of unlawful acts upon a cemetery in February.

The felony charge stemmed from an incident at Mount St. Hope Cemetery in Tremont where he had worked cutting grass. For those Tazewell County charges, Koller was sentenced to 24 months’ probation.

Copyright (c) 2000 Journal Star   Record Number:  0000374317