MINNEAPOLIS — Tim Amacher, the 41-year-old Taekwondo master charged with attempted first-degree murder in an alleged plot to kill his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, made his first court appearance Friday.
Prosecutors asked the judge to set bail at $1 million because of the potential danger Amacher would pose to 34-year-old Nicki Lenway.
Lenway, a Minneapolis Police Department crime scene investigator, was shot twice from behind while picking up her 5-year-old son who was having a court-monitored supervised visit with Amacher at FamilyWise supervised parenting center on University Avenue near the U of M.
Referee Lyonel Norris rejected the prosecution's request for a $1 million bail, instead, setting it at $250,000 with a number of conditions. That, as Lenway expressed her fears in a new restraining order written from the hospital of what would happen in Amacher is released.
"The danger has escalated throughout the last three years. I believe (Amacher) arranged to have me killed... I am especially concerned in the event he is released from jail on bond," Lenway wrote.
In the petition for an order for protection, Lenway described the shooting. She wrote that she was shot in the wrist and the neck, and one bullet lodged in her back. She suffered damage to her lung, esophagus, vocal cords, voice box and wrist.
"Prior to law enforcement arrival, I tried to gain entry to FamilyWise, which wouldn't let me inside the building. I then called 911. 911 couldn't understand me, due to the damage to my neck/throat. A witness then pulled up in their vehicle and told me to get inside. She helped me and took my phone to speak to dispatch and provide medical aid prior to the arrival of officers/EMS," Lenway wrote.
While receiving medical aid, Lenway immediately began to worry about her son, who she presumed was still inside the building.
"I tried to convey to them that my son was inside the building, although again, I don't know if they could understand what I was trying to communicate. An officer went to FamilyWise and sat with my son while they were piecing together information," Lenway wrote. "At some point, that police officer who was with my son eventually coordinated with officers at the hospital and brought him in their squad car to the hospital. He was eventually reunited with my parents in the hospital waiting area."
Lenway and Amacher dated for three years before breaking up in 2015. A month after that, Lenway discovered she was pregnant.
After a long and bitter custody battle that included a trial, a judge last year granted Lenway full custody of the child, citing evidence of domestic abuse -- in one case where "Lenway tried to leave Amacher's home and he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back into the bedroom."
The tens of thousands of pages in Lenway and Amacher's court custody file lays out more allegations of abuse as well as the animosity and deception that led up to Lenways shooting and Amacher's 1st-degree murder charge.
Late last year, Amacher was allowed unsupervised visits with the child. But in February, a judge further reduced Amacher's contact to just supervised visits like the one that evening last month at FamilyWise.
The reason? Unfounded allegations of abuse reported by Amacher and "credible evidence" of Amacher coaching or influencing the child into making false statements regarding abuse.
According to Burnsville police reports, Amacher claimed Lenway's new boyfriend was molesting the child while Lenway watched.
But police and the judge ruled the allegation "unfounded," after the boy told child protection his dad says that so he would "get taken away from Nicole and stay with Timothy."
Amacher even emailed KARE 11 News in June 2020 and tried to initiate an investigation into his allegations that Lenway and her boyfriend were abusing his son.
Amacher is the the owner of World Tae Kwon Do Academy in White Bear Lake. According to court documents, he is now dating and live with one of his long-time students, 24-year-old Colleen Larson.
Larson also faces an attempted first-degree murder charge, and prosecutors believe she was the shooter. She received a permit to carry a firearm in January 2021, according to search warrants.
In Lenway and Amacher's 2021 child custody battle, Larson appeared in court to testify on Amacher's behalf.
Larson is currently being held at the Hennepin County Jail on a higher bond than Amacher — $300,000.
Search warrants also indicate police are trying to determine whether she or Amacher brought a brand new Dodge Ram truck the day before the shooting.
They used surveillance video and GPS data to track the truck from the Taekwondo studio to the crime scene and back to the street where Amacher and Larson lived together in Saint Paul, court papers say.
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