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Blue Mound couple: 'We're fighting for our lives'

BLUE MOUND -- Grappling over a shotgun with a 300-pound man who had just burst into his home and threatened his wife, Keith Hoehn had but one thought.

"It was like a horror movie," he said. "I thought I was a dead man. We're fighting for our lives."

The overnight crime spree began late Tuesday when two suspects robbed a family in north Fort Worth and then drove the family's van to Blue Mound where they tried to do the same thing at the Globe Street home of Keith and Kellie Hoehn.

"Very overt, very crazy" is how Blue Mound Police Lt. Thomas Cain described the fracas.

The Hoehns, both 34, feared that they and their children were about to be killed, so they battled the suspects.

Keith Hoehn struggled to get the sawed-off shotgun, while his wife grabbed the muzzle, trying to keep it pointed away from the rooms of the couple's son, 12, and 5-year-old daughter.

That went on for about five minutes, Keith Hoehn said.

He finally managed to get the shotgun away from the larger of the two attackers and turned it on both of them.

Dakota Scott Benoit, 20, of Richland Hills was fatally wounded and John Garland Pierson, 25, of Haltom City was in critical condition and police custody at the hospital.

Keith Hoehn, a subcontractor who works with water filtration systems, stood on his blood-sprinkled porch Wednesday and wearily retold his story to a steady stream of journalists.

His knuckles were scraped raw and his back and legs were marked by cuts and bruises. Kellie Hoehn preferred to let her husband do most of the talking.

"We have been crying for hours, wondering how we even survived," Keith Hoehn said. "How could I have fought off a 300-pound man? When he got shot he kept coming. I got to figure he wasn't sober."

'SNATCH AND GRAB AND GO'

Public records show that Benoit and Pierson both have extensive criminal histories.

The Blue Mound incident was the second home invasion they tried to pull off late Tuesday and early Wednesday, investigators said.

The first one was reported at 11:11 p.m. on Calico Rock Drive in Fort Worth, about a mile east of the home in Blue Mound, according to police reports.

Cain and Lt. Paul Henderson, Fort Worth police spokesman, said they didn't know how the robbers chose which houses to hit.

Keith Hoehn said he didn't know the robbers or why they targeted his home.

Perhaps, Cain said, they were "crimes of opportunity."

"Just snatch and grab and go," he said.

In the first incident, the gun-wielding men entered the home on Calico Rock Drive through an open garage door and went to a bedroom where they confronted the 38-year-old homeowner and his wife, Henderson said.

They demanded valuables, Henderson said.

The homeowner, Henderson said, is a participant in the police department's Code Blue crime watch program, and the gunmen took his police radio.

They also got a laptop, a wallet, a jewelry box, and the family's van -- a red Honda Odyssey, Henderson said.

"Children were inside the house asleep and were not harmed," Henderson said. "There were no reported injuries during this robbery."

'I SCREAMED FOR MY HUSBAND'

The men took the loot and drove the family's red van to the home in Blue Mound. They kicked in the front door there at about 12:23 p.m., police said.

"I was sleeping and all of a sudden they busted through the door," Keith Hoehn said. "My wife had a 12-gauge in her face, and he told her 'Don't you scream, bitch, or I'll blow your F-in head off.'

"Well ... she did scream."

"I screamed for my husband," Kellie Hoehn said.

The gunman turned the Remington 870 pump-action shotgun toward Keith Hoehn.

"I thought he was going to blow my head plumb off," Hoehn said.

But Kellie grabbed the muzzle, and the struggle began.

"We just tackled him," Keith Hoehn said of the man, who probably outweighed him by about 90 pounds.

"I'm 220 (pounds)," he said. "All I could do was try to hold onto that shotgun.

"My wife was trying to keep the muzzle away from the kids' rooms. I looked down and I saw he was pulling on the trigger the whole time.

"I found out later that the safety was on -- praise the Lord."

Kellie let go long enough to grab a jar candle, Keith said, "and she popped him in the head."

Then she started battling the attacker's accomplice who had a handgun, Keith said. The couple's son grabbed his little sister and they hid in a closet with a pellet gun, Keith said.

'HE GOT RIGHT BACK UP'

The fracas spilled out onto the front lawn, where Keith Hoehn finally seized the shotgun.

He fumbled with the safety and then shot at Pierson, who was already in the van, wounding him.

"My wife said he had a gun," Keith said. "I didn't know if he was going to shoot us."

Then he fired at Benoit.

"He got right back up," Keith said, "and started charging me again.

"Well, I shot him again, and I guess that was it."

Police and ambulance crews arrived and took Benoit to John Peter Smith Hospital. He died at 1:13 a.m. in the emergency room from gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

Pierson, meanwhile, ran to the office complex for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, 2600 Lou Menk Drive in Fort Worth, about a mile north of the home on Globe.

Railroad police found him trying to clean up in a company fountain, Henderson said.

Pierson was turned over to Fort Worth police and was then taken to JPS where he was in critical condition Wednesday, Henderson said.

Cain said he was preparing an arrest warrant for Pierson on a charge of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit another felony.

Henderson speculated that Keith Hoehn probably won't face charges for killing Benoit, although it is common for a grand jury to review such a case.

MULTIPLE CONVICTIONS

Tarrant County records show Pierson has nine convictions dating to 2000 on drug charges, theft, assault and unlawfully carrying a weapon.

He was most recently sentenced to 45 days in jail on July 17 on a misdemeanor conviction of possession of marijuana, records show.

Benoit was sentenced to three years deferred adjudication probation in May 2007 on two charges of possession of a controlled substance, one out of Haltom City and the other out of Euless.

Court records show he also had a misdemeanor conviction for criminal trespassing.

Cain said he couldn't explain why Benoit, having been hit once with buckshot, would come back to fight some more.

"A person in (his) right mind wouldn't do that," Cain said. "This (was) very overt, very crazy.

"It seems like they weren't in their full faculties."

The Hoehns on Wednesday were left with questions that may never get answered.

"Why couldn't he just steal my car?" Keith Hoehn asked. "Why come into my house? You wouldn't have gotten anything more."

He concluded that his family was alive Wednesday through God's protection and his wife's courage.

"She's the one who set things in motion," he said. "Most people would probably say 'Take what you want,' but we thought we were going to die.

"I'm sorry it had to happen, but I can't help the way people are."

Staff Writer Deanna Boyd contributed to this report.

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