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Colleen Larson pleads guilty to attempted murder in shooting of MPD forensic scientist

Larson was charged with first-degree attempted murder, accused of shooting the ex-girlfriend of her then-boyfriend.

MINNEAPOLIS — A woman charged in the April 2022 shooting of Minneapolis Police crime scene investigator Nicki Ford, formally known as Nicki Lenway, has pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court to aiding and abetting first-degree attempted murder.

Colleen Larson was accused of shooting Ford, who is the ex-girlfriend of her then-boyfriend, Timothy Amacher and the mother of a child they share. 

Judge Shereen Askalani accepted Larson's plea and ordered a pre-sentence investigation, emphasizing in court the defendant's cooperation in the case. Prosecutors asked that Larson immediately be taken into custody, but Judge Askalani ruled she could remain free under electronic monitoring until sentencing March 27. 

During the hearing, Larson detailed her history with Amacher, saying she shot Ford so Amacher could raise his son alone. She also admitted there is no lawful or justifiable reason for her actions that night. 

Larson's defense attorney previously considered using duress and insanity defenses, citing in court documents that Amacher, who is 17 years older than Larson, began grooming her from as early as age 12 and is an “abusive, manipulative, egotistical, and controlling man.” However, prosecutors also filed documents claiming Larson had admitted to investigators and prosecutors that she pulled the trigger.

Ford was shot twice outside of a supervised parenting center on University Avenue near the University of Minnesota. Amacher and Ford share a 5-year-old son and their custody battle had been contentious. Larson was a former taekwondo student of Amacher who moved in with him when she turned 18. The two were dating at the time of the shooting. 

Ford, a forensic scientist with the Minneapolis Police Department, survived the point-blank shooting and has recovered, although she has permanent scars. She testified in Amacher's trial that her ex-boyfriend and father of her child physically and emotionally abused her.

Amacher was convicted of first-degree attempted murder last fall; he was sentenced in January to 18 years in prison, the maximum sentence without going over Minnesota guidelines. 

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