AUGUSTA — The father of a 4-year-old boy who brought a loaded gun to a Hallowell day care center in April has pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless conduct brought in connection with that incident.

Adam J. Keene, 31, of Madison, entered the plea in Augusta District Court by letter from his attorney, Philip Mohlar.

Mohlar said Thursday he is likely to request a jury trial in the matter. In that event, the case would be transferred to Kennebec County Superior Court.

On April 23, a worker at Rollins Family Child Care Center in Hallowell found a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun in the boy’s backpack. The gun was removed from the premises, and Hallowell police were called. Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason said at the time that the gun’s safety was on, but a round was in the chamber.

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Thursday she hopes to arrive at a resolution of the case before it goes to trial.

She said she has been in discussions with Mohlar.

Maloney said she met with employees at the daycare and made a list of their requests and brought those to Mohlar.

“I’m optimistic we will come to an agreement,” she said.

Mohlar too said he, too, hoped the case could be resolved.

“Based on my review of the evidence, I am not sure of the state’s basis for the allegation that my client acted recklessly,” Mohlar said. “He feels horrible about the situation that happened and he understands why other parents at the daycare are upset with the situation. He had no knowledge the gun was there.”

Keene reported the gun missing to Skowhegan police on April 18, five days before it was discovered in the boy’s backpack.

The backpack was used to carry belongings between the homes of the boy’s parents.

Maloney previously said that from what police and prosecutors could determine, and from what Keene could remember, “he was bringing the gun into the house and thinking he’d remember to take it out once he got in.”

“It was not a conscious act, but it was a reckless act,” she said. “You have to be aware at all times what you’re doing with a deadly weapon.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631
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