Tim Amacher is charged with aiding attempted first degree murder and aiding an offender after the fact for the murder of Nicole Lenway.
MINNEAPOLIS — Tim Amacher, the ex-boyfriend and father of shooting victim Nicole Lenway’s child, did not pull the trigger. But prosecutors described him as the “writer, director and producer” in the story of what happened to the Minneapolis police crime scene investigator on April 20, 2022.
“What he didn’t know was that Nicole would survive and be able to tell her story,” prosecutor Jacob Fischmann told the jury during opening statements Thursday morning in Amacher’s trial. He is accused of aiding attempted first-degree murder and aiding an offender after the fact.
On the night of the shooting, Lenway had just arrived at FamilyWise, a supervised parenting center on University Avenue in Minneapolis, to pick up her son who was inside for a court-ordered supervised visitation with Amacher, when someone ran and shot him three times from behind.
“After years of trying to get custody of his son, Callahan, from his mother Nicole, after being denied by the courts, after concocting false stories of child abuse suffered by Callahan, after concocting false stories of abuse he himself suffered at the hands of Nicole, and after being told by the courts that due to these false allegations all of his parenting time had to be supervised, Mr. Amacher decided to take matters into his own hands. in hand,” Fischmann said. “He decided to have Nicole Lenway killed. Better yet, have someone do it for him. And who better than his young former taekwondo student and now girlfriend, Colleen Larson.
Larson is also charged with attempted first degree murder and is expected to go to trial in January. She is listed as a potential witness in Amacher’s trial, but there is no indication that she will actually testify. According to court documents, she also confessed to her role in the crime, but it’s unclear whether that confession will be used as evidence in Amacher’s trial.
Amacher’s attorney, Larry Reed, took advantage of this ambiguity to tell the jury that there was no evidence that Larson was even the shooter.
“No witness will sit at this bar and say he did anything to aid and abet any type of shooting,” Reed said in his opening statement.
Reed pointed out that the prosecution had a list of witnesses with 100 names and asked the jury to determine whether each witness provided facts indicating that they aided and abetted.
Reed claimed the prosecution doesn’t have a case because they “throw a bunch of stuff in and hope it holds up.”
“My client was wrongfully accused,” Reed said. “He did not do anything.”
Additionally, Reed has at various times insinuated and outright accused the Minneapolis Police Department of handling this case differently, even filing evidence, because victim Lenway is their employee.
The prosecution set out a timeline for the jury that included details about Amacher and Lenway’s relationship and the custody battle. According to the state’s opening statement:
- They started dating in 2012 and broke up in 2015. Lenway found out she was pregnant after the breakup and they formed plans for co-parenting.
- When Lenway started dating someone else, a co-worker from MPD, “things changed dramatically.”
- Amacher would try to get Lenway back, then shame him. At one point he painted “Slut for Cops” on his garage door.
- Amacher filed a domestic abuse allegation against Lenway months after an incident allegedly occurred and a day before seeking custody of their son. A jury acquitted Lenway.
- Finally, a leading Minnesota child abuse investigator determined that the only abuse of the child was to subject him to repeated false accusations. The courts then decide that Amacher’s visit with him must be supervised.
Regarding the evidence they plan to show the jury, Fischmann said police found unloaded casings as well as unused cartridges at the scene of a .380 pistol. Investigators found the same ammunition at Amacher’s home in St. Paul and discharged shells that prosecution experts plan to testify were fired from the same gun.
Although they found many guns at the Amachers and a box for a .380, they never found a real .380 gun. During opening statements, it was revealed that Amacher admitted to owning two .380s, but sold one to Steve Schleicher, a Twin Cities lawyer who helped prosecute Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. .
Police recovered this gun from Schleicher and tested it, but it did not match the gun used on Lenway. Amacher claimed he gave the other .380 to Lenway at some point, which she denies. The second .380 was never found, prosecutors said.
The jury will hear from experts in cellphone technology, which prosecutors say was used to track a black Dodge Ram owned by Amacher to the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. Surveillance video showed the shooter exiting a black vehicle.
Fischmann told the jury that the Ram’s Wi-Fi technology essentially makes it a “big cell phone”, connecting to nearby cell towers, allowing it to be tracked.
Finally, the prosecution claimed that Amacher attempted to conceal his car by adding Superman stickers and a temporary license plate days after the shooting. Fischmann said initial surveillance video did not show the car with stickers or a temporary license plate leading up to the night of the shooting.
But in his opening statement, Reed denied that the shooter’s vehicle belonged to Amacher and that his Dodge had a “GT” symbol on the back not visible on the shooter’s truck.
Reed claimed that the accused’s multiple allegations to child protective services were not “false” and that Amacher was simply trying to properly report the injuries.
In response to the multiple firearms found at Amacher’s residence, Reed described Amacher as a “Second Amendment guy”. He also claimed that casings found at his residence had nothing to do with the case.
At one point in her opening statement, Reed attempted to tarnish Lenway’s credibility, claiming that she once admitted to Amacher that she fabricated evidence in the MPD shooting on Jamar Clark. Reed told the jury that Amacher gave this information to MPD Internal Affairs.
Court records allege that Amacher gave false information to MPD Internal Affairs on more than one occasion regarding Lenway and her current boyfriend, MPD officer Donovan Ford.
The first witness to testify Thursday was an FBI agent and a cell phone technology expert. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
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