With only five days to go until the Republican primary on May 17, the Bingham County coroner race between Jimmy Roberts and Lisa Rowland has intensified with the release of an incident report regarding a domestic dispute that took place on April 14, 2021 in the Roberts family.
A copy of the report was provided to local media earlier this week and posted on Facebook Thursday.
According to the incident report, Cpl. Katseanes was dispatched to the Roberts family address to respond to “a male that was intoxicated and waving a gun around.” The reporting party, who was Roberts’ daughter and her boyfriend, informed dispatchers that they had been in the shop on the property when the incident transpired, but they had since moved to their car, and Jimmy Roberts and his wife Beth had left the shop and gone into the house.
Katseanes and another responding officer went around the back of the house, and could see the couple talking through the door. The report said Katseanes opened the door and drew his handgun, giving commands to Roberts to show his hands. They patted him down and found a holster on him, but no gun. Roberts agreed to talk with officers while Katseanes spoke with Beth outside the house.
According to Roberts and Beth, the events of the incident transpired differently than how they were written in the incident report. Roberts disputes the report saying he was intoxicated, but acknowledges that’s a matter of subjectivity.
“My wife and I got into an argument. It became too intense for me where I felt like we were at kind of an impasse,” Roberts said. “So I said I was done with the argument and wanted to take some time for myself, get away from what was happening. I left the house, came out to the shop.”
Looking for something to work on, Roberts said he got his revolver from the gun safe and was going to clean it, along with his other weapons. This is when Beth entered the shop, wanting to resolve the argument then, and seeing Roberts with the revolver was a trigger from her previous husband’s suicide, which was done with his service revolver.
Roberts said he went to put the revolver back in the gun safe, and it was then that his daughter and her boyfriend came out and saw the argument taking place.
“... Then this perfect storm scenario, our daughter Samantha and her then new boyfriend come walking in and I’m sure it looked not great,” Beth said.
“... He felt as though the situation was unsafe and he called 911. Without knowing what else to do and not knowing what else was going on I don’t blame him for that at all. He was trying to think of the best interest of everybody involved,” Roberts said.
The way events were written in the incident report was that after the couple kept arguing, he said he was “done” and when she asked him what he meant by that, he went to his gun safe to grab a pistol, and told everyone to get out. When Katseanes asked if she thought he wanted to hurt himself, she said no, and that threatening to do it was a jab at her. She said that she didn’t feel threatened and felt safe under the same roof as Roberts. Katseanes asked Roberts if he wanted to hurt himself and he responded that he absolutely didn’t.
Roberts’ daughter and her boyfriend decided to go stay at his family’s house for the night while the couple stayed in the house and went to sleep. Roberts was not charged with a crime for the incident.
“I’m not a politician. I get upset on any side when people throw stuff in that has nothing to do with what it’s all about,” Beth said. “I’m happy answering questions to clarify it because I don’t have anything to hide. Is it a little embarrassing? Yeah, probably. Does it bring up stuff for me that I don’t love that’s painful? Yeah, but I deal with that all the time anyway.”
Beth said that one of the reasons she fell in love with Roberts is that, “He’s the guy that does the right thing, all the time.”
“He tells the truth about what he believes no matter what consequence comes down the road,” Beth said.
According to a Facebook post by Roberts Thursday in response to the release, the public records request was filed by Rowland.
“I’m disappointed that someone has chosen to attempt to discredit me based on a private disagreement with my wife on our property that has nothing to do with my campaign for the office of coroner in our county,” Roberts said in his statement.
Local media was also given copies of documents early this week bringing Rowland’s length of law enforcement experience into question.
During the campaign, Rowland has claimed to have 35 years of law enforcement experience in her career, but this statement does not match public records. According to her Idaho POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Academy Employee Profile, she has almost 19 years of patrol experience with the Idaho State Police, Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, and the Blackfoot Police Department, and nearly five years of emergency communications experience with the Idaho State Police, bringing her total years of law enforcement experience to 24 years. Public records only show her having three days of experience in investigation with the Idaho State Police.
Rowland has been including her 10 years of experience as an investigator for the Industrial Commission in her law enforcement experience, which does not require POST certification. Rowland points out that she did investigations for the Deputy Attorney General on a contempt of court action when an employer failed to comply with a judgment, and that she was also required to testify in court on her investigations.
Rowland said she had to leave her investigation position with the Idaho State Police before the probation period was finished because her teenage daughter needed her to be closer to home and more available and went to work for the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office. When she asked to be moved back to patrol with the ISP, she was told they just started requiring that anyone promoted to investigations come from the ISP ranks and they wouldn’t hire from outside agencies anymore.
Roberts and Rowland are the only two candidates running for the position, and it’s too late for anyone to register and run as an independent or as a Democrat.