DULUTH — A woman allegedly removed two BB guns from a house connected to a West Duluth homicide investigation as officers were in the process of executing search warrants at the residence.
Amber Rose Louise Forrest, 29, used a ladder to climb into a second-story window and take the weapons, along with a backpack, two days after the shooting death of 33-year-old Timothy Jon Nelson, according to a criminal complaint. She then allegedly tried to sell the BB guns.
Forrest, the third person arrested in the case, was formally charged with a felony count of aiding an offender as an accomplice after the fact. She is described as being in an "on-again, off-again" relationship with co-defendant James Michael Peterson.
Authorities on Friday, Sept. 27, charged Peterson, 38, and Christopher Floyd Boder, 33, with Nelson's Sept. 22 shooting death in a car. Criminal complaints outline a tangled series of events in which Nelson was reportedly gunned down in a confrontation after attempting to rob Boder while armed with a BB gun.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Jill Eichenwald set Forrest's bail at $100,000. She had been placed on probation in a misdemeanor domestic assault case just eight days before the incident.
"The defendant's behavior directly impacted the investigation into the death of Mr. Nelson, and is particularly brazen in light of the fact that she was specifically instructed by law enforcement that she would be unable to return to the residence," St. Louis County prosecutor Kristen Swanson told the court.
Climbed through window
Police executed several search warrants at the house on Sept. 24. The residence is listed as the address for both Peterson and Boder. Peterson and Forrest were present and were removed from the home when officers arrived at approximately noon that day, according to the criminal complaint.
Interviewed outside, Forrest "was unable to provide a consistent or clear chronology of her events" from Saturday, Sept. 21, to Monday, Sept. 23, the complaint said. Forrest said she "knew nothing about the shooting and denied even being in the area at the time it took place."
Forrest reportedly asked whether she could retrieve some personal property from the residence but was told by the investigator that would not be possible while it was secured by police, according to the complaint.
In the meantime, investigators completed a search of the house and found two BB guns, one of which was in a backpack. They photographed the items but did not immediately remove them because the warrant did not provide for the seizure of BB guns in the course of the homicide investigation.
Police obtained a second warrant at 2:40 p.m. and returned to the residence, finding both BB guns and the backpack missing, the complaint states. Officers found a second-floor window partially opened, and noted that a ladder had been moved from the back of the house to the front.
The next day, investigators made contact with Forrest. She allegedly turned over the backpack and admitted to having climbed into the window right after speaking with the investigator.
"Forrest denied any knowledge regarding the BB guns, and said she simply used the backpack to put her clothing in when she left," the complaint states.
Shooting allegedly followed robbery
Criminal complaints filed against Peterson and Boder do not clearly identify who authorities believe shot Nelson.
The charging documents heavily cite the account of a woman identified only as "Witness X," who told police she was driven to Boder's residence by Nelson because she wanted to purchase some methamphetamine. The woman told police Nelson suddenly attempted to rob Boder while brandishing a BB gun.
Nelson left the scene in his vehicle but told the woman by phone that he would return "and they would take care of everything," according to the complaints. Witness X said Boder was joined by Peterson, who was armed with a rifle, and they dropped her off at a Proctor gas station.
Witness X later received Facebook messages from Peterson indicating "something bad had happened," according to court documents. He allegedly told her he "did something 'f----ed up.'" Asked by the woman if Nelson was dead, Peterson reportedly responded: "He still had a pulse when we walked away."
Nelson, a father of five who owned a contracting business, was pronounced dead at a local hospital from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Peterson and Boder are each charged with aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder. They are being held on $750,000 bail.
All three defendants are scheduled to be back in court on Oct. 22.