Verdict Reached In Deadly River Stabbing Trial Following Graphic Videos, Suspect Testimony |

Verdict Reached In Deadly River Stabbing Trial Following Graphic Videos, Suspect Testimony

The jury found Nicolae Miu guilty of reckless homicide in Apple River stabbing. The jury reached the verdict after viewing horrific video of the confrontation, listening to graphic witness testimony and hearing Nicolae Miu’s very different version of events.

Gasps and sobs filled the St. Croix County courtroom on Thursday as a jury convicted Nicolae Miu of first degree reckless homicide for fatally stabbing 17-year-old Isaac Schuman during a 2022 confrontation at the Apple River in western Wisconsin.

Miu, 54, and his attorneys lowered their heads as Judge Michael Waterman read the verdicts from the jury of six men and six women. In addition to the homicide conviction, Miu, of Prior Lake, was found guilty of four counts of reckless endangerment for stabbing four others in Schuman’s group, and one count of battery against another.

“It’s been 21 months we’ve been waiting for justice for Isaac Michael Schuman. And we got it today,” Donny Hernandez, the husband of Schuman’s mother, Alina Hernandez, said after the verdict. A large group of family members and supporters stood arrayed behind them, outside the courthouse in Hudson.

Miu, who hung his head as the verdicts were read, had argued he was in fear for his own life and acting in self-defense. He will be sentenced at a later date, and faces what one of his attorney called “substantial, life-altering penalties.”

Prosecutors sought a higher charge of first degree intentional homicide against Miu, but also asked the jury consider the lesser charges. Defense attorney Aaron Nelson said they were surprised and disappointed by the verdict.

“In many ways, self-defense is a community standard,” Nelson said. “And it’s very dependent upon which group of 12 people within the community you ask.”

Miu had remained in the state’s custody since he was first jailed; after the verdict, Waterman revoked his bail and he returned to jail. The top count against Miu carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison, with more time possible on the other counts. The determination now lies with Waterman.

Prosecutor Karl Anderson said Miu’s behavior that day revealed his guilt in what happened.

“A key point in this case was Nicolae’s own actions,” Anderson said. “After he stabbed all these people, he walked away, he ditched his knife, he didn’t tell his group anything, and then he tried to get away and pretended like he wasn’t involved.”

Schuman was from Stillwater. Also stabbed in the confrontation on July 30, 2022, at the recreation spot near Somerset were Alexander Martin, Dante Carlson, Anthony Carlson and Rhyley Mattison. Miu was convicted of battery against another in the group, Madison Coen.

The jury had briefly returned to the courtroom first thing Thursday to review video of the confrontation captured by Jawahn Cockfield, another member of the group that included Schuman. Miu was also with a group of people who also were inner-tubing on the Apple River that day, at a site near the town of Somerset.

Jurors reviewed the video from the one-minute mark, when Miu first spoke to Coen, who told Miu to leave after people in Schuman’s group accused him of “looking for little girls.” Miu testified that he was looking for a cell phone that one of the others in his group had lost while tubing. He said he pushed Coen because she was yelling and in his personal space. Witnesses said Miu punched her, starting the brawl.

Miu had testified during the trial that his “fear was getting really high” as the confrontation escalated and he was pushed into the water several times. He glanced down and took a deep breath as the video showed him fighting Schuman’s group, stabbing people around him.

Prosecutors called Miu a “prolific liar,” pointing to inconsistencies between what he initially told police later in the day on June 30, and what he later admitted on the stand. Miu told police that day that he had taken the knife from one of the young men in the group, but later acknowledged it was his.

The trial revealed grisly details from the scene, with Martin testifying that the attack left him stunned as he held parts of his own intestines in his hands.

“Our position was, if he’s truly afraid, why not just hold up the knife and people are going to back up,” Anderson said.

Members of the jury exited the courtroom Thursday without commenting to the media. Anderson, who said after the verdict that he was happy that “Isaac got justice,” said the high-profile nature of the crime and trial, and the longstanding popularity of the Apple River as a summertime destination, probably played into public interest.

“I think about half of the jury panel had been to the Apple River, so I think it kind of hits close to home for a lot of people,” he said.

Miu’s wife and friends testified that he was a peaceful man being bullied by Schuman’s group that day. Miu looked worried after the fight, they testified. Miu himself testified to having nightmares of the stabbing every night, and he told officers who interviewed him that July afternoon that his “whole life is down the tubes.”

Tim Peloquin, whose son testified that he was part of Schuman’s group that day, said the case will leave an impact on everyone who was involved.

“In this situation,” he said, “nobody wins.”

via: StarTribune

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