Friend of Levi Acre-Kendall recounts fatal St. Croix River stabbing at trial

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Levi Acre-Kendall and Peter Kelly

One of the friends of Levi Acre-Kendall who witnessed him fatally stab Wisconsin fisherman Peter Kelly after a confrontation along the St. Croix River on April 14 took the stand on Tuesday. The murder trial for Acre-Kendall began in Polk County on Monday.

Jacob Mossberg explained his crew, including 20-year-old Kendall, was fishing and smoking marijuana on the Minnesota side of the river. They were watching cell phone videos and having loud fun, which seemed to annoy two anglers across the river, Peter Kelly and Ross Lechman.

According to law enforcement testimony, Kelly and Lechman eventually came across the river to confront the younger group of anglers. There was a scuffle and Acre-Kendall reportedly pulled out a knife. Kelly was stabbed once in the left side of his chest, piercing his heart.

The jury also got its first look on Tuesday at the knife the Cambridge man used to stab Kelly. The medical examiner testified at the trial that Kelly died from a single stab wound that pierced his heart.

“The injury to the heart was a very lethal injury that really is not survivable,” Michael Madsen, the medical examiner said.

Eric Nelson, Acre-Kendall’s defense attorney, used his cross examination to clarify the angle of the deadly wound as he built his argument of self-defense.

Nelson also established that Peter Kelly’s blood alcohol level was at .043 at the time of autopsy. Although well below the legal limit for driving, this still provides proof of alcohol consumption before the deadly confrontation. 

Lead investigator with the Polk County sheriff’s office Rick Gearhart testified about tracking down Acre-Kendall and his friends in the hours after the stabbing.

“My primary goal was not the crime scene. My primary goal was to attempt to identify who the suspects were as quickly as we could,” Gearhart said.

The jury saw surveillance photos of their vehicles leaving Interstate Park in the dark of night. The jurors also watched a video of the crime scene videotaped in daylight hours to show evidence locations and distances.

As for the boorish behavior and inappropriate language that reportedly ignited the cross river feud, prosecutors played the so-called “Deez-Nutz” video for the jury that Acre-Kendall and crew were watching on their cell phone when the two groups began arguing.

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