Suspects arraigned in the murder of Gooding man; community reacts

Suspects arraigned in the murder of Gooding man; community reacts
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:27 AM MDT
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GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The Gooding community is reacting to the announcement of two people being charged in killing Gooding County resident Roger Driesel, who was initially reported missing on May 15th.

On Wednesday at the Gooding County Courthouse, both suspects were made aware of the charges brought against them.

James faces first-degree murder, one count of felony grand theft, two felony counts of destruction of evidence, and one misdemeanor count of false information provided to an officer, government agency, or specified professional.

Miller is charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, felony grand theft, two counts of destruction of evidence, and false information.

According to the affidavit filed by the Gooding Police detective Neill Martin, Driesel was found dead under a blue tarp on May 27th in a local shop not far from his residence.

James shot Driesel seven times with a .22 caliber rifle that belonged to Driesel’s neighbor and once with a .380 caliber handgun that belonged to Miller.

In the affidavit, James told officers that two days before killing Driesel on May 15th, Miller had asked him to “shoot Roger [Driesel]” because “she told me that he hit her, and I snapped. It brought back memories of my dad beating my mom.”

He used two guns because the .22 caliber rifle was out of bullets, and “I gabbed the .380 because Roger [Driesel] was still alive...I didn’t want him to suffer.”

The day after killing Driesel, Miller and James went to “clean up where Roger [Driesel] died,” the two pushed Driesel’s body into an oil pit, covering him up with a tarp. His body was found by a local search party more than a week later, on May 27th.

“We have been just absolutely devastated. We are just shocked and beside ourselves, really. We just can’t believe something this heinous can happen,” said Heather Day, who was a friend of Driesel.

According to the Gooding Police Department, before Driesel’s murder, Miller lived with Driesel at the residence near where his body was discovered and was known as his girlfriend. In addition, James referred to Miller as his “aunt” and Driesel as his “uncle.”

“I think a lot of people in town kind of suspected they were behind it. I didn’t know Nick at all. I knew Athena roughly through the soup kitchen as well,” said Amanda Gayle Reed, a friend of Driesel.

In the affidavit, it is cited that Det. Boyer asked Miller if there was anything she regretted or could take back; Miller replied, “I wouldn’t have told Nick [James] to kill Roger [Driesel].”

Day said she is relying on prosecutors to finish the job. She feels “life in prison” or the “death penalty” should be on the table for Miller and James.

Gooding resident Michelle Reinstra added, “It is hard to see. As a community, we want to say we take care of each other and say we try, and then stuff like this happens. It’s devastating to everyone.”

In the end, Reed said she will miss seeing Diesel’s face around town, which Miller and James have now stripped from the Gooding community.

“Nobody in rogers presence was just ignored or forgotten. I’m going to miss that. We need more people in the world to make people feel welcomed,” Reed said.

A preliminary hearing is being scheduled for Miller and James on July 13th. Both are being held without bond.

Also, a memorial service is being held for Driesel on June 24th at the 5th Avenue Church in Gooding at 6 pm.