Suspect in fishing feud death pleads not guilty, gets bail reduced

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A 19-year-old Minnesota man charged with fatally stabbing an angler during a confrontation along the St. Croix River in April entered a plea of not guilty in a Wisconsin courtroom Monday.

Levi Acre-Kendall of Cambridge was charged in April with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of 34-year-old Peter Kelly, following a confrontation that started on opposite sides of the St. Croix River at Interstate Park, where they were both fishing with friends April 14.

During a hearing in Polk County Circuit Court Monday, Acre-Kendall pleaded not guilty to the charge, the Star Tribune reports. His attorney repeated his client's assertion that he stabbed the victim in self defense.

The judge also lowered Acre-Kendall's bail from $125,000 to $75,000, according to WCCO. As of Monday evening, he was still in custody in the Polk County jail.

Kelly, a father of five from St. Croix Falls, was fishing with a friend on the Minnesota side of the river that day, while Acre-Kendall and two friends were on the Wisconsin side.

The men were yelling at each other across the river for several hours, when Kelly and his friend drove to the Wisconsin side to confront the other group. The accounts of what happened next differ.

Kelly’s friend told authorities they approached the three men as they were walking to their vehicle, and they were all outside the car when the stabbing occurred.

But Acre-Kendall’s friends say he was already in the car, and Kelly was trying to pull him out through the window as they tried to leave. Acre-Kendall claims he stabbed Kelly to protect himself.

Acre-Kendall is due in court again on June 22.

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