A 45-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in connection to a shooting last year near Hauser Lake that left a 77-year-old man dead and another man wounded.
In addition to the murder charge, Adam Bennett, a convicted felon, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm enhancement, two counts of aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Stanley Mortensen said. In exchange for Bennett’s pleas, grand theft of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle charges were dropped.
Bennett was originally charged with first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder, but those were amended to second-degree murder, battery and assault , respectively, Mortensen said. Bennett faces life in prison.
The charges stem from Feb. 28, 2022, when people reported a large barn on fire at Dennis and Joanne Rogers’ property, 8964 N. Hauser Lake Road, according to court documents.
Joanne Rogers, Dennis Rogers’ wife, told the Kootenai County 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, court records say. Joanne Rogers said she went outside after finishing the call and saw the barn fully engulfed in flames.
John Hazell Jr., Jesse Reed and Hammond Bradford, three men who were nearby at the time, responded to the fire, according to documents.
Reed said he, Hazell and Bradford discovered Dennis Rogers lying against a fence along the driveway, documents say. Hazell said Dennis Rogers was unconscious.
He had been shot in the head, 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 say. Hazell said the man, later identified as Bennett, then shot him in the left leg.
Hazell, along with Reed and Bradford, ran from the area after Bennett shot him. 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 documents.
A sentencing date has not been set but is expected to be in about 10 weeks, according to court hearing minutes from Tuesday. Bennett is housed at the Kootenai County Jail.