Ohlson defense files motions to take death penalty off the table

Erik Ohlson, center, seen at the Madison County Courthouse in Rexburg.

Teton County Prosecutor Billie Siddoway filed a response to Erik Olhson’s latest motion Wednesday, defending her office’s actions heading toward the May 9 sentencing and acknowledging that despite the defense’s requests, “however unnecessary, the State does not object.”

Ohlson, of Jackson, Wyo., filed a motion seeking to establish, “fair and reliable guidelines,” for his sentencing. Ohlson, who pleaded guilty to felony first-degree murder of Driggs resident Jennifer Nalley in February in a plea deal that took the death penalty off the table, has filed three motions in the last month heading toward his sentencing in Teton County next week.

This latest motion issued through his defense council Jim Archibald, claims that since he pleaded guilty, “The prosecutor has made repeated efforts to skew the sentencing process in her favor in a manner more befitting of an advocate for the victim than a minister of justice committed to allowing the court the opportunity to determine a fair and just sentence for Mr. Ohlson.”

In her response, Siddoway identifies Ohlson’s four requests in his motion which include that the pre-sentence investigator disregard the chronology of her discovery, that the court limit the victim’s access to the pre-sentence investigator’s report; that victim impact statements be limited to immediate family members; and that the hearing be limited to “relevant” information.

“The State disputes the first request,” reads the response. “However, the State is willing to stipulate to some form of order regarding the remaining requests.”

In the response, Siddoway agrees that in this case, the state supports making the pre-sentence investigation available to the victims that include any orders or instructions regarding the use or dissemination of that pre-sentence investigation.

The prosecutor’s office planned to include two victim impact statements and therefore had no objection to the defense’s request in limiting any additional impact statements. The prosecution plans to provide, either through video or by written statement, victim impact statements from Nalley’s mother and father who will not be in court next Thursday for the sentencing.

The motion hearing is scheduled in front of Judge Bruce Pickett at 2 p.m. today at the Teton County Courthouse.

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