Apple River stabbing trial Day 3 recap

by 24USATVApril 3, 2024, 11:01 p.m. 23
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The trial of Nicolae Miu, the man accused of the deadly stabbing on the Apple River in 2022, continues Wednesday with witness testimony, a day after emotional testimony from the victims and their friends.

Nicolae Miu, 54, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and multiple counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide that could send him to prison for life if he is convicted. He is accused of killing Stillwater, Minnesota, native 17-year-old Isaac Schuman and wounding four others — Dante Carlson, Tony Carlson, Rhyley Mattison and A.J. Martin — on July 30, 2022.

READ MORE: Timeline of what happened

You can watch the trial live in the player above and on FOX 9's YouTube channel. Updates on the third day of the trial can be found below.

RELATED: Recap of Day 2 of the Apple River stabbing trial

Eric Von Williams was tubing down the river with Nicolae Miu, but he'd met him the day they got to the river. He is the 17th person to testify.

He testified he was nervous about the intoxicated minors so he kept an eye on the situation when Miu went over to look for the missing phone. Von Williams said he was the only person from the group who went over to help after the altercation, and when he returned to his group, none of them asked what happened or spoke and they floated away with no music playing.

He testified after the altercation, he never spoke to Miu again.

Shenna Lowell, the 16th person to testify at trial, was a tuber on the Apple River and a witness to the trial. She testified she was not drinking because she's a recovering alcoholic. She said her tubing group came around a bend in the river and a group of younger people was yelling for help. Then, some people from her group walked over to help, including Madison Coen, who was eventually punched in the face. She said police took photos of Madison's face.

She noted Dante punched Miu and said she thought Miu was punching people back, but the victims were actually being stabbed. She said it happened fast.

Larrion Davis, a tuber on the Apple River, was the 15th person to testify. He recorded some cell phone video of the Apple River incident — he was taking selfie Snapchat video as the Miu encounter was happening behind him.

After a lunch break, Sondra "Sandy" Miu, Nicolae Miu's ex-wife, took the stand to testify. She is the 14th witness to testify. Sondra filed for divorce from her husband in March 2024. She was tubing down the Apple River with him on the day of the stabbing.

She testified during voir dire about whether she knew what Miu talked about when he returned to their tubing group, but noted she wears hearing aids, so she doesn't hear very well and didn't wear her hearing aids on the river. There were legal discussions about whether Sondra Miu could discuss personal conversations between Sondra and her then-husband.

Then, in front of the jury, Sondra Miu testified she met Nicolae at work, Ritchie Engineering, in about 2007. They started dating in 2008, and they got married in 2011. She testified she still loves him.

She was with him tubing down the Apple River on July 30, 2022. She said Nicolae brought a knife to cut the strings to tie the tubes together, at the request of a friend, but she thought he put the knife away in the Jeep before they went down the river. She did not see him use the knife at other points in the day, she testified.

She testified the reason why Nicolae had a snorkel and goggles on the river is because she told him not to wear any jewelry because it would likely fall off in the cold Apple River water. So he brought the gear to search for lost jewelry.

At one point, Ariel Chaguez Leyet's phone — which was providing music for the day — fell in the water, Sondra Miu testified, noting Nicolae Miu was looking for the lost phone. At some point, Sondra Miu saw the teenagers around her husband, and then Ariel and Ernesto Torres Chaguez walked toward them. She testified she didn't see anything else – Ariel and Ernesto just brought Nicolae Miu back. She then saw the police come and people were screaming. She also saw someone on the riverbank, she said, and someone receiving what looked like CPR.

After the incident, she said the mood was "quiet" while they finished tubing down the river. She wasn't sure if Nicolae Miu was talking to one of their friends as they finished the trip.

"I've been trying to block this out," Sondra Miu said.

She confirmed to the prosecution in her testimony that Nicolae Miu was frustrated with his group of tubers because they did not respond to his yells for help that day on the river, but Sondra Miu said they couldn't hear him over the sound of the water.

She testified she was not worried about Nicolae Miu's intoxication level the day of the stabbing, nor anyone else in their tubing group.

Court breaks for lunch. Miu's ex-wife, Sondra Miu, is expected to be the next witness when court resumes around 1 p.m.

Gabriella "Gabby" Khazraeinazmpour, 25, was tubing with the Carlson family down the Apple River on July 30, 2022. She is the 13th witness to testify. During her testimony, she recalled what she saw on the river that day, including coming up on the teenage tubers. She testified she did not see Miu stab anyone but she called 911. Ryhley Mattison came up to her after she was stabbed, Gabby testified.

10:40 a.m. - A.J. Martin: ‘My stomach was open and my intestines were in my hands’

A.J. Martin, who was badly injured in the stabbing, is the 12th person to testify in Miu's trial. He testified about what he remembered, including Madison Coen getting hit during the fight as he was walking toward the group of teens and Miu.

Martin testified that after Miu hit Madison in the face, someone hit Miu and Miu fell into the water. Martin said his intention was to go over and try to break up the fight and figure out what was going on, but as he went over to do that, Miu got him with the knife.

"My stomach was open and my intestines were in my hands," Martin said.

He remembers telling Tony Carlson he was going to die. He then remembers waking up in the hospital. He was in the hospital for 27 days, and had a few follow-up surgeries. He had to have a feeding tube due to complications.

9:10 a.m. - Ryhley Mattison, who was stabbed in the fight, testifies

Ryhley Mattison is the 11th witness in the case. Mattison, who was stabbed during the altercation on the Apple River, recalled her injuries. She broke down on the witness stand as she was shown a picture of her lying injured on the riverbank. She testified she thought she was dying the day after being stabbed in the abdomen.

Photos of Mattison's injuries and surgery scars were shown in court on Wednesday.

During Mattison's testimony, attorneys went frame by frame through the cellphone video of the incident. She also broke down her account of what happened.

Following the stabbing, Mattison spoke to FOX 9. Here's that video:

8:08 a.m. - Anthony ‘Tony’ Carlson, who was stabbed in the fight, testifies

Anthony "Tony" Carlson is the 10th witness in the trial. He was stabbed in the fight. He is Dante Carlson's older brother and Quinton Carlson's son. He admitted to being intoxicated while tubing down the Apple River on July 30, 2022.

Tony thought he was breaking up a fight/attempting to deescalate the situation. At one point, he testified, Miu scratched him with a knife and then stabbed him. He also helped his friend, A.J. Martin, after he was stabbed, saying in court "I was holding my friend's intestines."

READ MORE: Tony Carlson in police interview said 'My ribs stopped the knife'

The prosecution said Miu's ex-wife Sondra Miu will testify Wednesday afternoon, but there is the potential for spousal privilege. She has recently filed divorce papers in the state of Minnesota. One of the prosecutors, Brian Smestad, said he's not feeling well so he may have to leave the courtroom at some point if he's not able to continue for the full day.

The official makeup of the jury includes eight men and six women. The age breakdown includes two people in their 20s, one in their 30s, three in their 40s, three in their 50s, one in their 60s, three in their 70s, and one in their 90s.

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