Man Could Get Death Penalty for Killing His Ex-Girlfriend’s Unborn Baby

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 20, 2018   |   5:23PM   |   Boise, ID

A Wyoming man accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend in 2016 is contesting a second-degree homicide charge for the death of her unborn baby.

The Billings Gazette reports Erik Ohlson, 41, of Jackson, Wyoming, would be eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Ohlson allegedly shot his pregnant girlfriend, Jennifer Nalley, in 2016 in Teton Valley, Idaho, killing both her and the unborn baby, according to the report. Nalley was about 12 weeks pregnant.

Idaho prosecutors argue that Ohlson committed premeditated murder, citing a text message that he sent to a friend shortly before the incident.

“She seems to be interested in having this baby without me except for when it comes to the money,” the text read. “I want to strangle her and witness her last mortal moment.”

On Nov. 9, Ohlson’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the second-degree homicide charge. They argued that it is “insane” to convict a man of killing an unborn baby when women legally abort unborn babies of the same age, the report continues.

“The suggestion that the state of Idaho is free to declare the same first trimester fetus someone to be protected under the homicide law, but not someone to be protected under the abortion law, is nonsensical,” attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas wrote. “It’s legal insanity.”

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports more:

“Thousands and thousands of embryos and first trimester fetuses are killed each year by women, doctors and fertility clinics,” Ohlson’s attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas wrote in their motion to dismiss filed last week. “It would be cruel and unusual for the state of Idaho to kill Erik Ohlson if he’s convicted of killing a first trimester fetus.”

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… The fetal homicide charge makes him eligible for the death penalty, which the state of Idaho is pursuing.

Archibald and Thomas argued that the fetus wasn’t old enough to have a right to life and that makes their client ineligible to be killed by the state.

“A woman and her doctors can kill an embryo or fetus in the first trimester without repercussions from the law,” they wrote. “To say a potential mother has protection from being prosecuted but a potential father does not have protections violates equal protection under law.”

They also argued that the state fetal homicide law is unconstitutional because it includes all unborn babies, without age limits.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Idaho is one of 38 states that recognizes the unlawful killing of unborn babies as homicide in at least some circumstances. Some laws protect unborn babies at all stages of development, while others limit the protections to after viability.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, under the Idaho law: “Murder is defined as the killing of a ‘human embryo or fetus’ under certain conditions. The law provides that manslaughter includes the unlawful killing of a human embryo or fetus without malice. The law provides that a person commits aggravated battery when, in committing battery upon the person of a pregnant female, that person causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to an embryo or fetus. Idaho Sess. Law Chap. 330 (SB1344)(2002).”

Ohlson’s attorneys’ argument is one of the reasons why abortion activists so strongly oppose fetal homicide laws. These laws expose the true nature of legalized abortion by recognizing the value of an unborn baby.