St. Croix River stabbing suspect pleads not guilty

A Minnesota man charged with murder in the stabbing of a Wisconsin father on the St. Croix River entered a not guilty plea Monday morning in Polk County Circuit Court. The defense attorney representing Levi Acre-Kendall is arguing the 19-year-old from Cambridge, Minn. stabbed 34-year-old Peter Kelly in self-defense.

"Mr. Acre is 19 years old. He has a very good reputation as evidenced by all the family and friends in court today," defense attorney Eric Nelson said.

Acre-Kendall is charged with first-degree reckless homicide for the April 14 stabbing at Interstate Park. He surrendered 2 days after the deadly riverfront altercation, and the knife allegedly used in the incident was handed over to investigators.

According to the charges, Peter Kelly was fishing with a friend 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.

The judge has lowered Acre-Kendall's bail to $75,000. Should Acre-Kendall and his family come up with $ 75,000 in cash, he will have several conditions he will need to follow while on release. That includes a 9 p.m. curfew, GPS monitoring and no travel outside of Minnesota, except for his Wisconsin court dates.

How to help the family

Peter Kelly was a husband and the father of 5 children all under the age of 9. A fundraiser has already raised $105,000 for the family. You can contribute at

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