Judge Bruce Picket heard the motion from the defense for Erik Ohlson last Friday who is seeking to dismiss the second count of murder in the capital case currently pending against him.
Ohlson is charged with murdering Driggs resident Jennifer Nalley in 2016. He is also charged with killing Nalley’s unborn baby of 12-weeks. Ohlson’s defense attorneys are using the court case Roe v. Wade to define their argument that the second count of murder should be dropped.
Additionally, Ohlson may seek to file a motion to represent himself in the case. On Friday, Judge Pickett heard from Ohlson in a courtroom free from the public. After the meeting, Judge Pickett said that Ohlson will have until Dec. 21 to file a motion to fire his public defenders Jim Archibald and James Thomas with the motion potentially scheduled to be heard in court on Dec. 28.
As for the dismissal of count two of murder, his defense argued in their submitted brief, “An embryo or fetus in its first trimester does not have a right to life,” as cited from Roe v. Wade. “A woman and her doctors can kill an embryo or fetus in its first trimester without repercussions from the law.”
A Jackson resident, Ohlson is charged with two counts of murder and one count of burglary and could face the death penalty if convicted. His jury trial is set for June 2019.
He was arrested in July 2016 after he crashed his truck into an electrical pole on 2500 South, just three miles from Jennifer Nalley’s cabin in Driggs where she lay dead from eight gun shot wounds suffered that same night, according to the Teton County Coroner’s report. Ohlson was arrested for a DUI and later confessed to killing Nalley. However, his confession was thrown out after the court determined that the Idaho State Police failed to provide legal counsel to Ohlson during the interrogation.
The defense went on to further argue in their brief that, “A first trimester fetus is also killed without legal implications when a woman has a miscarriage. About 10 to 25 percent of all women with a verified pregnancy will end up having a miscarriage.”
Teton County Prosecutor Billie Siddoway responded to the brief pointing out that that three times the magistrate court found probable cause to charge Ohlson with the second count of murder of Nalley’s fetus. The prosecution further argued with the support of communication between Ohlson and witness in the case Erin Landry, that Ohlson “expressed malice aforethought,” or “premeditated the murders.”
She responds to the motion writing that the defense, “misunderstands and misapplies the holding of Roe v. Wade. In Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court expressly recognizes a State’s legitimate interest in the potential of human life.”
Ohlson is currently being held in Madison County Jail and his court trial is set for July, 2019 in Bingham County.