A Polk County, Wisconsin judge on Wednesday said there's enough evidence against 19-year-old Levi Acre-Kendall to send his case to trial on charges of first-degree reckless homicide. The Cambridge, Minnesota man's defense attorney argued the deadly stabbing of a fisherman on the St. Croix River was an act of self-defense.
Acre-Kendall is accused of stabbing 34-year-old Peter Kelly on April 14 at Interstate Park. Two friends that were with Acre-Kendall at the time of the stabbing are being treated as cooperating witnesses, not suspects.
Here is scene inside Polk Co Courthouse. Levi Acre-Kendall preliminary hearing in St. Croix River fisherman murder. pic.twitter.com/CVjDdgVioR— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) April 22, 2015
"He's a coward," said Mike Kelly, Peter's brother. "Anyone who stabs somebody, and you run, you're a coward."
Acre-Kendall turned himself into police last Thursday – two days after the deadly riverfront altercation. According to the charges, investigators recovered the knife allegedly used in the murder from Acre-Kendall's home in Cambridge.
According to the charges, Peter Kelly and a friend dropped their hooks on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River, and at some point got into a verbal altercation with Acre-Kendall's group of friends on the Wisconsin side. Kelly's family has said Acre-Kendall's group was doing drugs and acting belligerent. Kelly had had enough, and went to confront the anglers.
Polk County prosecutors acknowledged Kelly "had consumed alcohol" prior to the confrontation -- an incident that would end with Kelly stabbed in the chest. Acre-Kendall and the others took off.
Mike Kelly believes his brother absolutely did the right thing.
"That's some of the problem with our community now. When you see punks like that, you leave it until it keeps going," Kelly said. "I call out people. If you see punks like that, go confront them."
Back in court today for Levi Acre-Kendall. Accused St. Croix River fisherman killer. Has hired Amy Senser's attorney, Eric Nelson.— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) April 22, 2015
How to help Peter Kelly's family
Peter Kelly leaves behind his wife, Christie, and 5 children all under the age of 9. A fundraising page has been created at http://www.gofundme.com/s7y8rg4, with more than $94,000 raised.