Social media has taken up Jennifer Nalley’s murder as an awareness campaign for domestic violence.
Nalley, 39, was 10 to 14 weeks pregnant when she was shot dead by a drunken boyfriend at a family cabin northeast of Driggs, according to court documents.
Nalley, a founder of Texas Rollergirls and modern women’s roller derby in general, has been mourned by thousands in the roller derby community online. The Rollergirls’ account eulogized its founder in a post that had been shared more than 2,000 times by athletes and clubs as far away as Alaska and Ireland as of Thursday morning.
A former teammate of Nalley’s commented on the Rollergirls’ post that not many knew that Nalley and her former boyfriend and alleged murderer Erik Ohlson had a troubled relationship.
“She had only come out to a few of us so recently. We had no idea that it had gotten so bad,” Julie Borshell wrote.
Nalley moved to Driggs in November and joined the Jackson Hole Juggernauts roller derby team. The Juggernauts joined in grief with many others on social media using Nalley’s roller-girl alias Pixie Tourette.
“We are mourning the loss of our dear friend Pixie Tourette. She was the most oddly brilliant and wonderful person we’ve ever met. Fiercely loyal, wonderfully inviting — she lived life like we all should. She had no apologies for the unique, quirky, lovely soul that she was,” the post reads.
The group is hosting a memorial for Nalley on Saturday in Jackson, Wyo.
Court documents paint Nalley’s murder as a violent end to a tumultuous relationship.
Ohlson, 39, of Jackson, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder following the shooting death of Nalley and her unborn child. He is being held in the Madison County Jail without bond.
Ohlson was already in custody before Nalley’s body was discovered. He’d been in a single-vehicle crash at the intersection of West 2500 South and State Highway 33 when he intentionally rammed into a power pole in what he later told investigators was a suicide attempt about three miles from Nalley’s home at about 1:28 a.m., court records show.
Ohlson made statements to Teton County Sheriff’s Office deputies when he was arrested for DUI “that he had bigger problems (than) the DUI and crash,” court records show.
Idaho State Police Detective Matt Wall wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Ohlson told investigators he drove to Nalley’s cabin in the early morning hours of Tuesday with a loaded .45-caliber Glock model 30 in his back pocket. He said he intended to scare Nalley, whom he knew was 10 to 14 weeks pregnant.
Wall interviewed Ohlson in the jail and Ohlson said he and Nalley “did not fight physically but both were emotionally destructive to each other through verbal exchanges and name calling,” court records show.
Ohlson had a blood-alcohol content of about .24 — three times the state’s legal limit of .08 — when he was breathalyzed for the DUI, court records show.
Records from Ohlson’s DUI arrest show that after he hit the power pole he exited his truck and was unsteady on his feet, once falling over. A Teton County deputy yelled for him to step away as he was near the power lines. As Ohlson walked to the deputy, he fell over, court records show.
Ohlson later told investigators he knocked on Nalley’s door, and she came out and may have pushed him in the chest, court records show. No words were shared between the two before Ohlson pulled the pistol from his pocket and shot Nalley in the chest. As Nalley fell to the ground Ohlson is reported to have fired seven or eight more times until he ran out of bullets. The standard magazine for a Glock model 30 holds 10 rounds.
Ohlson told investigators he did not check to see if Nalley was dead and instead walked away from the cabin intending to shoot himself, court records show. Unable to go through with the suicide attempt, Ohlson is reported to have thrown the pistol on the side of the road. Teton County Fire Department firefighters found a pistol matching the one Ohlson described a short distance east of Nalley’s cabin, court records show.
Nalley’s body wasn’t found until 11:19 a.m. Tuesday when a family member discovered her facedown on the porch and called 911. The family member had draped a sheet over Nalley’s body. Investigators observed two puncture wounds to Nalley’s back when they responded to the scene.
An autopsy has been performed, the results of which are pending.
Ohlson is originally from Haddam, Conn., and had lived in the Jackson area for about three years. On his Facebook page he said he was a former employee of the Snake River Sporting Club, a private golf, fishing and hunting retreat southwest of Jackson.
Jeff Heilbrun, general manager for the sporting club, said Ohlson worked at the golf course for several seasons before taking a different job about three months ago. Heilbrun said he was a hard worker but he didn’t know Ohlson well and said he kept to himself.
“This is just tragic, we all feel saddened. It’s just terrible,” Heilbrun said. “That’s about all I can say; he worked on the golf course and he worked hard.”
Ohlson has a preliminary hearing scheduled July 20.
First-degree murder can be punishable by death or up to life in prison. Teton County Prosecutor Kathy Spitzer said Wednesday she had not decided whether to pursue the death penalty.
Reporter Tom Holm can be reached at 542-6746