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New trial date set for Bingham County Sheriff

Former Bingham County Craig Rowland
Former Bingham County Craig Rowland

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - A new trial date has been set for Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland a day after he announced he will resign from office.

District Judge Stephen Dunn set the week of October 24, 2022 for the trial to take place.

Rowland is facing Felony charges of aggravated assault and battery, and Misdemeanor charges for exhibiting a deadly weapon.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin this week of July 25th, but was moved because of the withdrawal of Rowland's attorney, Justin Oleson on July 15th. Court records stated Oleson withdrew because of a "breakdown in communication between counsel and defendant." Rowland's new attorney is Dennis Wilkinson.

During a status conference Tuesday morning, Wilkinson mentioned to Judge Stephen Dunn a mediation meeting has been scheduled with Judge Robert Naftz on August 16. Mediation will bring both sides together to discuss ways to resolve all or some of the issues presented in the case.

Rowland announced in a letter Monday he will resign as sheriff effective August 1. The letter states, "I've become a distraction. Bingham County must press forward with the work at hand, and I do not want to impede that path. Recent events have, at a minimum, focused on me as an individual."

Rowland's charges stem from an incident involving the sheriff and a church youth group in November 2021.

Investigators said a group of girls knocked on the sheriff's door and left thank you notes on his door shaped like turkeys. Rowland allegedly pulled a gun on their youth group leader and threatened to shoot her.

When police interviewed Rowland after the incident, he said he was on edge because of past experiences with "drunk Indians." "I have been doing this job for 36 years. I've had drunk Indians drive down my cul-de-sac. I've had drunk Indians come to my door," Rowland said. "I live just off the reservation, we have a lot of reservation people around us who are not good people."

Soon after his statement, elected officials and community members asked for the sheriff to resign.

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