Major drama in St. Croix River stabbing trial

Prosecutors are finishing up their case against accused murderer Levi Acre-Kendall in last April’s deadly stabbing along the St. Croix River. But not before some major courtroom drama Thursday.

Acre-Kendall, 20, stabbed Peter Kelly to death as a cross-river verbal confrontation escalated. Jurors will have to figure out if it was murder, or rather a case of the Cambridge, Minn. man defending himself in a life-or-death situation.

Jurors have now heard from all 3 of Acre-Kendall’s friends who witnessed the fight. Also taking the stand on Thursday was Levi’s dad, Travis Kendall, who was warned by the judge that anything he said could be used against him in a future case. He had talked to and counseled Levi in the minutes and hours after the stabbing.

“It was one of the bigger mistakes of my life,” Kendall said.

Kendall faced tough questions about why he and his son never called police after the stabbing. Kendall acknowledged that he talked to his son on his phone a couple times as Levi fled from the scene late the night of April 14.

“You don’t call 911 after he calls the first time? Correct. Not after calling him back? Correct. No 911 call after he comes home? Correct.”

It remains unclear if prosecutors are looking at some type of conspiracy charge against the veteran St. Francis, Minn. school teacher. Travis Kendall insists he did not know the gravity of the situation when his son got home after the deadly confrontation.

“I did not talk about the fight,” Kendall said. “He shows me the weapon, puts it on the bureau, see if he is alright...that was it.”

Prosecutors closed out their case mid-afternoon, giving jurors an emotional account from Peter Kelly’s widow. Through tears, Christie Kelly recalled having to tell their children their father was gone.

“Sat a couple of them on the bed together,” Kelly said. “Something happened when he went fishing and he died. They screamed.”

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