Minneapolis (FOX 9) – A mother who escaped a shooting with a bullet in her back testified Monday in a closely watched trial involving a murder conspiracy in a years-long custody dispute.
Nicole Lenway, a forensic science supervisor for the Minneapolis Police Department, was shot multiple times in an April ambush outside a parent resource center. She survived her injuries.
Her former partner, Tim Amature, is on trial. Amature has been charged with aiding and abetting first degree murder. Amacher’s girlfriend at the time, Colleen Larson, pulled the trigger, authorities said. Larson is charged separately and will go to trial early next year. According to court documents, the couple planned to kill Lenway because of a bitter dispute over custody and custody of Laneway and Amacher’s five-year-old son. Amature was the mastermind of the conspiracy.
Lenway was the only witness to take the stand Monday, the start of the second week of Amacher’s trial in Hennepin County District Court. Her shocking testimony kept jurors engaged throughout the day.
Laneway walked jurors through her tumultuous relationship with their son’s father. Both sides have spent years blaming each other for abusing the now five-year-old. Lenway testified that she became pregnant shortly after a breakup that saw her move out of their shared home. That led to a years-long, bitter custody battle that played out in and out of court.
Testimony emerged that Larson had babysat the child.
On April 20, Laneway was ambushed outside Family Wise, a center in Minneapolis where separated parents can safely transfer custody of a child from one parent to the other. That’s when a female suspect, dressed in black and hiding her identity, ran into the laneway from behind.
The shooting was caught on surveillance video.
On the witness stand, Laneway recalled the female shooter standing above him. She was unable to make a 100% identification and could only tell the jury that a woman had shot her. Laneway hit several times. A bullet tore through her neck and lodged in her back between two ribs.
At one point, the injuries were considered life-threatening. Doctors didn’t know if she would ever speak again.
Laneway has made a remarkable recovery over the past 7 months, but one thing she can no longer do is sing. Her vocal chords are still not strong enough. It was something she testified she liked to do before the attack.
“At this point, I’m lucky to be alive and happy to be able to talk,” Laneway testified on direct examination.
Amacher’s defense attorney, Larry Reed, questioned Lenway on cross-examination about his investigative work in the 2015 Jamar Clark police shooting. The defense suggested Laneway told Amature that he had tampered with evidence from the footage in his role as a forensic scientist.
Prosecutors countered that the allegations stemmed from an ugly breakup and back-and-forth custody battle. An amateur attempt to destroy Laneway’s reputation and career.
An MPD spokesperson told FOX 9’s Paul Bloom there are no documents, files or complaints to suggest wrongdoing by Laneway for her actions in the Clark case.
Testimony will resume in Amature’s trial Tuesday morning.