by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

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December 3, 2013
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Jason Richard Thrift victim in fatal Gardnerville shooting

The second fatal shooting in less than two weeks claimed the life of a 33-year-old Gardnerville man on Monday morning.

Jason Richard Thrift was moving out of the home on Toler Lane that he shared with Nicole Christine Followill, 29, when they started arguing.

Thrift was shot once in the head by Followill at around 11:20 a.m., according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Followill is being held on an open murder charge in Douglas County Jail on $1 million bail. She is scheduled to appear today for arraignment in East Fork Justice Court.

Sheriff Ron Pierini said Followill and her brother were interviewed about the incident.

A neighbor living across Toler said she heard arguing and a single gun shot.

According to court documents, Followill reportedly told investigators and her brother that she shot Thrift because he was beating her.

She was taken to Douglas County Jail where she declined to make a statement and asked for a lawyer.

After she was read her Miranda rights, Followill volunteered that she had just “shot someone” because she was being beaten.

According to reports, she had bruising and swelling on her left cheek “consistent with being struck in the face.”

She also complained of pain in her hands and wrists. There were scratches and cuts to both hands. Followill refused medical attention, according to reports.

A preliminary breath test indicated her alcohol level was .231, according to the court document.

Followill’s brother told investigators that Thrift knocked on the door of his Waterloo apartment at 9:30 a.m. Monday, but the brother said he didn’t let him in because it was too early, and Thrift left.

At 10 a.m., the brother said Thrift sent him a text that said he needed to leave the Toler residence because Followill attacked him.

He telephoned the brother and asked if he could stay with him because Followill was kicking him out.

The brother said yes, according to reports.

By 11:15 a.m., Thrift hadn’t shown up, so the brother made the short drive to the Toler address. He said he heard a gunshot when he was one house away from his sister’s and saw Thrift’s body lying in the doorway.

He said Thrift was dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

Deputies found two handguns in the living room of the residence. There were no other people in the home.

Followill is on a suspended sentence for driving under the influence following her arrest on June 30.

According to reports, she was pulled over with a .221 preliminary breath test, nearly three times the legal limit of .08 for driving.

She was also charged with child endangerment because she had her 9-year-old son in the car. That charge was later dismissed.

She was sentenced on Nov. 21 to 62 days in jail, with 60 days suspended, and fined $900.

A status report in her file from a counselor indicated she was participating in a recovery group and “appears to be doing well.”

The home at 1355 Toler was cordoned off, and Toler Lane closed at Lampe Drive and Mountain Court for most of Monday, forcing buses from nearby Gardnerville Elementary School to detour.

The school is about three blocks down the street from the incident. Deputies quickly ensured no one else was in the home, and the scene was reported clear within minutes of their arrival.

Superintendent of Schools Lisa Noonan said the school was not put on any special alert.

“School was able to proceed as usual,” she said.

Parents whose children walk to school were notified to pick them up if they didn’t want them to take an alternate route while Toler was closed.

According to the Douglas County Assessor’s Office, the home is a rental.

According to Thrift’s Facebook page, he is a 2000 graduate of Mohave High School in Bullhead City, Ariz., and worked for TNT Framing. He left Bullhead City last year.

Followill has lived at the Toler address since at least May 2011.

This is the second fatal shooting in Carson Valley in 11 days.

On Nov. 21, an 81-year-old Fish Springs man allegedly shot and killed a woman who was caring for him.

Melvin Oneal Norlund appeared in justice court last week facing charges of shooting Catherine Mary Costanza. He told the judge that the shooting was accidental. He is being held in lieu of $1 million.


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The Record Courier Updated Dec 4, 2013 09:00AM Published Dec 3, 2013 01:20PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.