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Man accused of killing ex-girlfriend, unborn child seeks to withdraw guilty plea

Crime Watch

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Erik Ohlson appears at the Teton County Courthouse| EastIdahoNews.com file photo

DRIGGS — The Jackson man who pleaded guilty on Valentine’s Day to murdering his ex-girlfriend and killing her unborn baby in a cabin near Driggs is having second thoughts about his plea.

Erik Ohlson, 42, filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea Wednesday. District Judge Bruce Pickett oversees the case and has yet to rule on the motion.

The plea agreement Ohlson signed in February stipulated the death penalty be taken off the table and amended a second count of first degree murder to voluntary manslaughter for the death of the unborn baby. According to court documents, Jennifer Nalley, 39, was eight to 12 weeks pregnant when Ohlson killed her with multiple gun shots.

Teton County Prosecutor Billie Siddoway tells EastIdahoNews.com if the motion is approved, all original charges in the case will be prosecuted, including the second count of first degree murder. She says the death penalty would be brought back to the table.

Ohlson argued aspects of his case in a motion filed on Nov. 9. Defense attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas argued the fetus was fully dependent on the mother and not a viable organism at the time of the killing.

“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.

The motion claims Ohlson had the idea a fetus in its first trimester could be killed as two other woman he had relations with aborted, or killed the fetus in their first trimesters.

“Ohlson knew that the law provided no protection for a first trimester fetus, and that no punishment was meted out for such killing,” according to the motion.

In a December court appearance, Ohlson said he was unhappy with the counsel Archibald and Thomas provided, asking Pickett to either appoint him new counsel or allow him represent himself at trial. Ohlson had been denied previously to request for new counsel.

Ohlson was scheduled to be sentenced on May 9, at the Teton County Courthouse. He remains held in the Madison County Jail, who houses inmates for Teton County.

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