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Man who lived in the home of his dead roommate gets rider

Crime Watch

POCATELLO — A Downey man who failed to report the death of his roommate has been sentenced to a rider.

Joshua Jay Bluemel, 38, pleaded guilty to a felony charge for destruction of evidence and a misdemeanor for failing to report a death.

For the felony, he was sentenced to a rider with an underlying prison term of two to five years by District Judge Javier Gabiola. He received a penalty of 146 days time served for the misdemeanor.

A rider program is where a judge sends a person to prison for up to a year to undergo different treatment programs. When the inmate has completed the program, the judge can then decide to send them back to prison or release them on probation.

RELATED | Downey man charged with felonies after roommate found dead

Bluemel was arrested in February following a two-year investigation into the death of his then-roommate, Richard Wiggill. In March 2020, deputies found Wiggill dead in his own home.

At first, Bluemel told detectives that he had moved out of the home following an argument with Wiggill, but he eventually admitted to living on the property after the death.

Bluemel also admitted to selling a tractor that belonged to Wiggill.

In addition to the tractor, Wiggill’s cell phone and a handgun had been removed from the property following the death. Neither were located.

When officers concluded their investigation into the death and received an arrest warrant for Bluemel, they learned that he was being held at Bannock County Jail for possession of methamphetamine.

Possession charges were filed and later included in a plea agreement.

For that charge, Bluemel was sentenced to a rider with an underlying prison sentence of three to six years.

He was also ordered to pay $2,438.50 for the three charges.

RELATED | What is a rider?

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