A central Minnesota man has been charged after police say a woman came forward and reported years of alleged physical and verbal abuse.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman reported the abuse to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 4:53 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8. The suspect was identified as 28-year-old Nicholas George Lehmeier of Cold Spring.
During the investigation, the sheriff’s office learned that the woman and Lehmeier had been in a relationship for more than 10 years and that the woman had been a victim of abuse during those years, according to the criminal complaint.
In April 2015, Lehmeier assaulted a child who was 7 years old at the time, and because of it, their five minor children were removed from the home, according to the criminal complaint. He was charged with malicious punishment of a child for that incident and pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault in November 2015.
July 2, 2015, was the first night they were able to bring their baby home since the child had been removed from their home; the other children had not yet been returned to the home, according to the criminal complaint.
The woman said she was sitting on the couch holding the baby and that Lehmeier became upset because she was spending time with the child and not with him. She said Lehmeier blamed her for the children being removed, and she responded that she wasn’t the one who had been criminally charged.
The woman said Lehmeier then grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun, loaded it and pointed it at her and the child. She said he then pulled the trigger but that the gun didn’t go off, according to the complaint.
She said he then loaded a revolver, saying, “One bullet is all I need to end this,” according to the complaint. She asked him if she could at least put the child to bed first so he wouldn’t be hurt.
Lehmeier then left the room and fired the gun out of the bedroom window, according to the complaint.
The woman said she never reported the abuse because Lehmeier always threatened to kill her or the children.
Investigators then spoke with one of the victim’s coworker, who said the victim would show up at work with bruises and that Lehmeier controlled the victim’s finances, private life and social life.
Lehmeier has been charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in connection to the July gun incident. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison and up to $14,000 in fines.