Judge grants bail to Southern Utah man charged with murder in death of 29-year-old woman in Salt Lake City

Stock image | Photo by MattGush/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George New
Stock image | Photo by MattGush/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George New

ST. GEORGE — A Kanab man has been released to home-confinement pending trial after being charged with first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a woman in Salt Lake City in November.

The defendant, 37-year-old Dustin James Pedersen, who was being held without bail in Salt Lake County, was released following a bond hearing held in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City on Feb. 27, when District Judge Richard McElvie reduced Pedersen’s bail from no-bail-eligibility to $100,000 bail.

Pedersen was released the following day after posting bond, and on March 6, he was outfitted with an ankle monitor as a condition of home-confinement.  

Pedersen is accused of fatally shooting 29-year-old Nichole Olsen after an altercation in a downtown Salt Lake City nightclub on Nov. 20 shortly after 2 a.m. Olsen was taken to a hospital in Salt Lake City where she later died from her injuries. Shortly thereafter, her body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Taylorsville for an autopsy. 

Investigators followed up with involved parties at the hospital. During a series of interviews, detectives learned that earlier that evening, the group Olsen was with was at the club where an altercation took place between the group and two men. Following the dispute, the two men were asked by the club’s security to leave, according to the police report. 

In the meantime, Olsen’s group attended an after-party taking place on West Temple in Salt Lake City, where one witness reportedly said they had just pulled into the parking lot when they saw a BMW pull in and park directedly in front of Olsen’s vehicle. 

Salt Lake City stock image by PHDPSX/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The driver of the BMW, identified as Pedersen, exited and confronted the witness’s boyfriend, saying, “You are the people from the club,” or words to that effect, the investigator noted in the police report.

The witness added that they immediately recognized the two men that exited the BMW as the same people involved in the altercation at the club earlier that same night. 

At this point, a tussle reportedly ensued between the witness’s boyfriend and the passenger of the BMW, which is when the witness got out of the car to try and deescalate the situation. 

During the scuffle, Pedersen was reportedly seen reaching into his waistband “constantly” and lifting his shirt to expose his belt line.

Seconds later, they heard a single gunshot, which is when Olsen walked over to the witness, telling her that she had been shot. At the same time, the witness said they watched as the Pedersen tucked “something” into his shorts and quickly got back into the car and sped off.

Investigators learned that Pedersen then continued to his hotel room in Salt Lake City and reportedly packed his belongings and left to return to his home in Kanab. During the drive back, the suspect learned of Olsen’s death, according to police, and instead of turning around or turning himself in, he continued driving home. 

Authorities say video footage captured by one of the witnesses shows Pedersen fleeing in the BMW with temporary plates from a car dealership. Investigators also obtained surveillance footage from inside the club that showed an altercation between the two groups that took place roughly 30 minutes prior to the shooting. 

When investigators reached out to the car dealership, they learned that one week prior to the incident, a vehicle matching the BMW’s description was sold to Pedersen, a resident of Kanab. 

One day after the incident, detectives in Salt Lake City received a call from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office advising that Pedersen had come in voluntarily and told a detective he had shot off a round to “scare everyone” and said that Olsen was struck by the bullet. 

He also reportedly told deputies that the handgun gun used in the shooting was still in the trunk of his vehicle, which was parked at a family member’s house in Kanab. The gun was later recovered by detectives. 

Detectives in Salt Lake asked the Sheriff’s Office to detain the suspect, and Pedersen was arrested and held in Kane County until authorities arranged for him to be transported to jail in Salt Lake County.

Once the autopsy was completed, the medical examiner confirmed that Olsen’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The case was filed Dec. 20, less than two weeks after the shooting, and Pedersen was charged with first-degree murder.

Detectives also requested that Pedersen be held without bail, citing the suspect posed a flight risk: his home in Kanab borders Arizona, and he fled the local jurisdiction in Salt Lake City after discharging a firearm and killing someone.

The affidavit also alleges that Pedersen remained “on the lam,” until his father convinced him to contact local law enforcement. Detectives also emphasized that Pedersen had no cause to fire a weapon on the victim and her friend, who were unarmed.

Pedersen remained in custody until the end of February and is now living in Kanab with the ankle monitor. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place April 18 in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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