Man accused of killing Driggs woman wants to represent himself in murder trial
DRIGGS — A man charged with killing his girlfriend and her unborn baby is asking to represent himself at his June 2019 murder trial rather than take advice from his current public defenders.
Erik Ohlson, 41, is facing two counts of first-degree murder as well as a slew of additional misdemeanor and felony charges in connection to the killing of Jennifer Nalley, 39, on July 5, 2016, and her unborn child. Nalley was eight to 12 weeks pregnant when Ohlson, her ex-boyfriend, allegedly shot and killed her in a cabin near Driggs.
Ohlson is facing the death penalty in this case.
According to court documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, last week Ohlson said he was unhappy with R. James Archibald and John Thomas, who currently serve as his appointed counsel. He requested the court either appoint him new counsel or allow him to be his own representation. This is not the first time Ohlson has requested to be provided new counsel, which has so far been denied.
District Judge Bruce Pickett is allowing Ohlson to file a motion to represent himself, but Pickett is concerned with Ohlsen’s ability to do so, according to court minutes.
Pickett is requiring Ohlson to have stand-by counsel, who ensure Ohlson has the ability to represent himself.
Ohlsen will be required to file a motion to represent himself or request the court to appoint separate counsel. The motion will be heard on Dec. 28 at the Teton County Courthouse.
On the same day, the motion for the state to dismiss count two of first-degree murder will also be heard. In a motion filed Nov. 9, Ohlson’s attorneys argued the fetus was fully dependent on the mother and thus was not a viable organism at the time of the alleged crime. Therefore the fetus cannot legally be considered a person and thus cannot be murdered.
“An embryo or fetus in its first trimester does not have a right to life. A woman and her doctors can kill a fetus in its first trimester without repercussions. To kill fetal tissue which is not viable is not a crime,” the motion states.
“There was no autopsy of the fetus. There was no death certificate of the fetus. Erik Ohlson is charged with two murders, but there’s only one autopsy and death certificate,” the motion states.
Ohlson’s jury trial is set to begin June 3, 2019, in Blackfoot. Jury selection is expected to begin on May 6 at Blackfoot High School.