Apple River stabbing: Trial set to begin Monday

A man charged with stabbing multiple tubers on the Apple River in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, is finally ready to stand trial nearly two years later.

Nicolae Miu is charged with first-degree homicide and several additional counts of attempted first-degree homicide that could send him to prison for life if he is convicted. He is accused of killing a Stillwater, Minnesota, teenager and wounding four others in the July 2022 encounter.

In the days following the deadly stabbing, authorities and court filings began detailing how the river, a popular destination for summer floats and daytime drinking, became a grisly crime scene.

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"I was so scared and just so worked up and anxious," Ryhley Mattison told FOX 9 at the time. "It is insane that things can escalate so fast."

Mattison spoke via Zoom from her hospital bed shortly after she was one of five people stabbed.

Isaac Schuman was killed. The 17-year-old’s death left his family and community shattered.

"I know Isaac can’t come back to me physically. But with his spirit, I will always feel him with me," his mom, Alina Hernandez, said at a vigil days later.

Mattison, then 24, reported suffering a punctured lung, with her diaphragm and stomach badly damaged from the knife wound.

"I thought I was going to lose my life too," explained Mattison.

The district attorney’s office quickly filed homicide and attempted homicide charges against Miu, who lived in Prior Lake. He was tubing that day with his wife and a group of friends.

Prosecutors maintain Miu was the aggressor and could have retreated from the encounter.

Miu, now 54, remains jailed, awaiting trial after pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.

In court filings, Miu said he was simply using snorkel gear to search the river for a lost cell phone when a group of tubers instigated the confrontation by calling him obscene names. Miu claims they attacked him in the water, and he feared for his life.

Critical cell phone video capturing more than three minutes of what happened before and after the stabbings is expected to be played in court.

Mattison, who acknowledged she was drinking on the river, is expected to testify under oath when the trial starts in Hudson next week.

"I was irritated to hear about the self-defense thing because whether or not we were in the wrong for going over and confronting him, he still was the one to make the first move," Mattison said at the time. "He still could have walked away. He could have done anything like that. That is what irritates me the most."