SHELLEY — A potential mistake from the coroner who investigated his father’s murder could have let the killer go free. That’s just one of the reasons Jimmy Roberts is running for Bingham County Coroner.
Bingham County Coroner Nick Hirschi has chosen not to seek reelection leaving the position open. Two candidates are now seeking the job, Lisa Rowland, the wife of Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland, and Bingham County Chief Deputy Coroner James “Jimmy” Roberts.
“Over the past year of working between Bingham County and Ada County, I really see the need to bring some advancements to the coroner’s office. And make some improvements that every citizen in the county needs, even though they don’t realize they need it,” Roberts told Community Pioneer.
Roberts worked for more than 34 years as a paramedic fireman he has trained police officers, firemen, Navy personnel and marines in lifesaving emergency care techniques.
“I couldn’t even count the number of medical cases that I’ve been on in my 34-plus years in the metropolitan systems that I’ve worked in,” Roberts said.
He said he now wants to use his unique knowledge and set of skills to make sure the people of Bingham County have answers when a loved one passes away.
One of the driving forces behind that desire comes from the circumstances surrounding his father’s murder.
“He was killed in 2004. The person that killed him set it up as if it was a suicide,” Roberts said. “At the time, the county coroner had just been elected. They had very limited experience.”
He said his understanding of the situation is that the coroner believed that the scene looked like an obvious suicide.
“Without my dad’s friend there, arguing that it was physically impossible to have my father killed himself and the scene look the way it did. All that evidence could have disappeared at that determination of that coroner,” Roberts said.
He said that the Idaho State Police ended up getting involved and an investigation took place ending, four years later, with the conviction of the man responsible for Roberts’ father’s death.
“I believe that conviction would have been for a greater amount of jail time and for a higher offense if we had been able to process that scene the way it should have been right from the beginning,” Roberts said.
Roberts said it was that incident that launched him on the path towards ultimately funning for county coroner.
“The good that has come out of it is that I guarantee that I will not stop until I get answers for the decedents’ families when there are questions that need to be answered,” Roberts said.