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Convicted felon charged with murder, attempted murder after shooting, fire near Hauser Lake

UPDATED: Sun., March 13, 2022

Adam J. Bennett was charged with first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder after he allegedly shot and killed Dennis L. Rogers, 77, and wounded John S. Hazell Jr., 55, on Feb. 28 near Hauser Lake.  (Courtesy of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office)
Adam J. Bennett was charged with first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder after he allegedly shot and killed Dennis L. Rogers, 77, and wounded John S. Hazell Jr., 55, on Feb. 28 near Hauser Lake. (Courtesy of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office)

A convicted felon was charged last week with first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder in connection to a barn fire and deadly shooting late last month near Hauser Lake.

Adam J. Bennett, 44, is accused of shooting 77-year-old Dennis L. Rogers in the head and then firing a round from Rogers’ Ruger .380 handgun in the direction of people responding to a North Hauser Lake Road pole barn that was fully engulfed in flames. The second bullet hit 55-year-old John S. Hazell Jr. in the leg, according to court documents.

Based on preliminary information provided by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office, Rogers died of a single gunshot wound to the head, documents said. The wound, in the area of his right temple, was apparently caused by a shot fired from 1 to 3 feet away.

Bennett, who fled the scene, was taken into custody at a nearby asphalt business where he was allegedly driving a stolen white Ford Ranger pickup, according to court documents.

Bennett was arrested on two warrants out of Washington County in Idaho. He was charged a week later with seven felonies related to the Hauser Lake shooting. In addition to the four counts of murder and attempted murder, Bennett was charged with grand theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Charges related to the fire, which authorities believe was arson, are pending until the fire investigation is complete, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said in a release last week.

Numerous people reported a large barn on fire shortly after 7:45 p.m. Feb. 28 at Rogers’ property, 8964 N. Hauser Lake Road, documents said.

Joanne Rogers, Dennis Rogers’ wife, told the sheriff’s office she and her husband were watching television at their house when Dennis Rogers went outside. A short time later, Dennis Rogers came into the house and told his wife to call 911 because their barn was on fire.

Dennis Rogers went back outside while his wife called 911, documents said. Joanne Rogers said in the documents she went outside after finishing the call and saw the barn fully engulfed in flames. She said she also saw two men she did not recognize.

One man was yelling loudly and waving his arms around being “crazy,” she said in the documents. Another was flicking something in his hand at the ground near some flames, she said.

“Who are you?” she said she yelled at the “crazy” man walking past the chicken coop, documents said.

She said the man turned around to face her and said, “I’m Trinity,” before continuing to walk off.

Bennett told deputies his name was “Keith Trinity” after he was taken into custody, documents said.

Three men – Hazell, Jesse R. Reed and Hammond E. Bradford – responded to the fire and encountered Joanne Rogers, according to documents.

Hazell and Reed, who did not know each other, were each driving on Hauser Lake Road before spotting the fire. Bradford said he lives down the street and was one of a handful in the area who heard loud “booms” or explosions. Bradford said he then saw large flames in the distance.

Reed said he saw a fuel can on fire near the middle of the driveway, not far from the burning building, on the way to the barn, according to court documents.

Hazell said he and Reed asked Joanne Rogers if she needed help getting livestock out, according to documents. Hazell said she asked where her husband was.

Reed said he, Hazell and Bradford discovered Dennis Rogers lying against a fence along the driveway, documents said. Hazell said Dennis Rogers was unconscious. When Joanne Rogers noticed her husband, she screamed, according to documents.

Hazell said he went to check on Dennis Rogers when he heard another man in the pasture next to the burning barn yell at him to get away from him, documents said. Hazell said the man then shot him in the left leg, just above his knee. Hazell said the man gave them “no chance” to back away before he fired.

Hazell, along with Reed and Bradford, ran from the area after Bennett allegedly shot him .

The first two deputies on scene said they heard a woman screaming in the vicinity of the burning barn, documents said. The two moved toward the noise and located Joanne Rogers with her husband.

Dennis Rogers was lying on the ground along the fence with blood on his face while Joanne Rogers was distraught, one deputy said, according to court documents. The deputy did not feel a pulse and did not detect signs of life from Dennis Rogers.

Shortly after, deputies responded about a half mile away to Idaho Asphalt, 16425 W. Prairie Ave., where an employee reported an aggressive man with a gun in a white Ford Ranger, according to court documents. This was the same location a deputy was investigating a semitruck cab that was allegedly intentionally burned the same day of the barn fire and shooting. 

According to court documents, the employee said the driver of the Ranger pulled up behind him and a coworker at Idaho Asphalt. The driver, Bennett, reportedly exited the truck and started acting odd and speaking nonsensically.

During Bennett’s rant, Bennett reportedly opened one of the doors of the coworker’s truck and started to get inside. The coworker said he got into the truck and told Bennett to get out of the truck.

Bennett exited the vehicle, rambling something about how the two employees were brave to speak to him like that when his “safety was off.” This led the two employees to believe Bennett was armed and were unsure of his intentions.

Both employees got into their respective personal vehicles and began to drive away, documents said. However, Bennett reportedly followed them in the Ranger.

One of the employees started leading Bennett in circles throughout the company’s large compound while updating his whereabouts to dispatch, documents said. Law enforcement arrived on scene shortly thereafter and detained Bennett in the truck.

The two employees said they realized the Ranger Bennett had been driving belonged to one of their coworkers, documents said. That coworker confirmed the truck was his and that no one had permission to drive it.

Deputies located a black handgun on the driver’s side floorboard of the Ranger, according to documents. The gun appeared consistent with a small, empty Ruger handgun box that a deputy found on top of a dresser in the Rogers’ master bedroom.

Two .380 caliber shell casings and a holster were found in the driveway of the Rogers’ property, documents said. Two butane lighters were found on Bennett’s person.

Bennett reportedly told authorities he was hired by Idaho Asphalt but had not yet started working there, according to documents. He said he went to the business because he received a call from an employee who said someone stole a truck, but authorities said Bennett was unable to tell them who called him. Documents indicated Bennett also claimed he heard there was a vehicle fire.

Bennett was convicted of three felonies – residential burglary, burglary and malicious mischief – on Feb. 22 in Spokane County, documents said.

They said a special agent of BNSF Railway issued Bennett a citation for suspicion of stealing a ride on a train around 5 p.m. the day of the fire and shooting.

Bennett, who appeared in court Tuesday, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing later this month. He is in the Kootenai County Jail without bond.

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