SANDPOINT — A Blanchard man accused of gunning down two Bonner County sheriff’s deputies earlier this year pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder on Tuesday in 1st District Court.
Adam Deacon Foster’s pleas set the stage for a four-day jury trial, which is slated to start on Jan. 9, 2018, according to court documents.
First-degree murder is capital offense under Idaho Code, but a conviction can also result in a lifelong prison term. Prosecutors appended the criminal complaint with sentencing enhancements because Foster inflicted great bodily harm on deputies Michael Gagnon and Justin Penn and used a firearm during the commission of the crimes.
The enhancements could add 70 years to the sentence imposed against Foster if he’s convicted of the charges.
Foster, 31, is accused of ambushing the two deputies after dashing away from them during an attempted arrest on Jan. 16 outside his home on Mountain View Road. Foster rounded the corner of his home and laid in wait for the pursuing deputies.
Gunfire from Foster’s .44-caliber pistol struck both deputies, who returned fire and wounded Foster. The deputies resolved to arrest Foster on an outstanding misdemeanor battery warrant after he allegedly threatened to kill a neighbor and vowed to kill law officers if they interfered with his plans, according to court documents.
Foster was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary hearing in Bonner County Magistrate Court last month.
Gagnon testified during the hearing that Foster was the first to open fire, while Foster’s defense counsel pointed out during the hearing that Foster was suffering from paranoid delusions. Family members said Foster became paranoid after consuming methamphetamine when he was living in Washington state, court records indicate.
Foster is being held in lieu of $2 million bail while his case is pending.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.