Watch live: Nicolae Miu defends her defense in Apple River stabbing trial

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HUDSON, Wis.— The accusation has rested in the trial for Nicolae Miuthe man charged with murder in the 2022 Apple River stabbings in Wisconsin.

Miu, 54, stabbed five people in the river, killing 17-year-old Isaac Schuman and injuring four others. The victims were between 17 and 24 years old and from Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The state seeks to prove that Miu was the aggressor that day, while the defense He argues that he stabbed the five people in self-defense.

Miu is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Schuman and attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbings of Ryhley Mattison, AJ Martin, Dante Carlson and Tony Carlson. He pleaded not guilty to all positions in September 2022.

WCCO will have live coverage throughout the test which you can watch via the video player above. CBS Minnesota News, Pluto television or the CBS News App on your connected phone or TV.

The medical examiner testifies

Victor Froloff, the assistant Ramsey County coroner, was the first witness on the stand Tuesday.

Victor Froloff

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The prosecution began by reviewing Froloff’s credentials, including his 19 years in his current position and 39 years total in the medical field.

Froloff performed Schuman’s autopsy.

Froloff said he noticed a severe wound on Schuman’s left chest during his external examination. When he internally examined Schuman, he reclassified it as a stab wound, saying it meant “the depth of the wound exceeds the length of the skin wound.”

The stab wound injured Schuman in the ribs, left lung and heart, according to Froloff.

The prosecution then reviewed photographs taken during the autopsy. These photographs were not shown in court, but printed copies were given to the witness and jury.

While reviewing the photographs, Froloff noted that two of Schuman’s ribs were “severed” when a “gun pierced his ribcage.”

Froloff said he conducted a toxicology report, the results of which showed Schuman’s blood alcohol content was 0.219. He found “no other substances or drugs” in Schuman’s system.

Froloff determined that Schuman’s cause of death was a stab wound to the left chest and that his manner of death was homicide.

The defense asked Froloff to clarify that “homicide,” in this case, is not a legal term, to which he agreed. Miu’s attorneys also noted that Schuman’s BAC was more than twice the legal limit for operating a vehicle in Wisconsin.

A long series of interrogations sought to explore the causes of the depth of Schuman’s wound, including whether he was moving toward or falling into the weapon. While Froloff said that he “never observed this incident” and that there were “infinite possibilities” about the causes, he agreed that the possibilities put forward by the defense were reasonable.

Brandie Hart testifies

Brandie Hart, a special services lieutenant with the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, was next to take the stand.

Hart interviewed Nicolae Miu and his then-wife after the stabbings.

The prosecution is playing. a video recording of his interview with Miu.

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In the video, after being read her Miranda rights, Miu began recounting the day to Hart. He repeatedly claimed self-defense, saying another group called him a “child molester.”

“They started insulting me, got off the tubes and came towards me,” Miu said.

He said he was “very afraid” and “went into self-defense mode.”

Miu said two people pulled knives on him and he grabbed one of the knives.

“I hit him with his own hand and then took it away from him,” Miu said. “I took the knife from one of the children.”

He also said he was “drinking beer all day.”

“Of course, I drank a lot of alcohol, who didn’t?” he said. He also said that the other group, the Schuman group, was “too drunk.”

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Miu consented to a DNA sample during the interview, which Hart took at the end of the interview.

At one point during the interview, Hart told Miu that four people went to the hospital and one died.

“Oh no,” Miu said. “Was that because they fought each other?”

He later said: “Now my whole life is down the drain.”

Miu asked Hart if they found the knives, to which she replied that she didn’t know.

RELATED: Nicolae Miu police interview video shown during Apple River stabbing trial: ‘I feared for my life’

“I’m glad I took that kid’s knife. He would have stabbed me. He wasn’t there to scare me, he was there to hurt me,” Miu said. “At least I’m here. But I’m sorry about how it ended.”

The defense’s cross-examination focused on Miu’s mindset during the interview: whether she was under stress and whether she was given a chance to calm down before the interview. Miu’s lawyers also highlighted her comments about self-defense and fear during the interview.

During the crossover, the defense admitted that Miu’s statements about how she got the knife were “inaccurate.”

The defense tried several times to get Hart’s assessment of Miu’s claim that he was surrounded before the stabbings, but never got a clear answer amid objections.

The state then asked more questions, including whether Miu mentioned being strangled or threatened with the statement “You have 10 seconds.” Hart said he didn’t mention those things during his interview.

The defense asked her to clarify that just because he didn’t mention them doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, to which she agreed.

Nicolae Miu takes the stand in his defense

Miu agreed to testify and took the stand Tuesday morning in her defense.

The defense began by presenting a cell phone video of the altercation and asking Miu to set the scene for them. The video was stopped at the point where it was close to the group that confronted it.

Miu said the group told him to “go away, go away,” touching him and pushing him. He said that at that point he felt threatened and admitted that he had a knife in his right hand.

Miu said he pushed a nearby woman into his personal space and felt threatened.

Nicolae Miu speaks at Apple River stabbing trial

The defense went back to some background and showed footage of Miu recovering from heart surgery. Miu briefly became emotional when talking about his dog, whom he called “my baby” and “my angel.” Miu said, because of the surgery and his weight, that his health was “very poor” on the day of the stabbings.

The defense asked Miu about the knife. Miu said they asked him to bring the knife to cut thread while he sailed down the river. He said he carries it with him frequently, calling it his “Swiss army knife” and that he uses it “pretty much anywhere” because he is an engineer.

The defense asked Miu if she was telling the truth when she talked about the knife with investigator Hart. To that, Miu replied, “I lied about the knife.” He said he had the knife on him when he went to get the phone from the river.

Returning to the events at the river, Miu said he was confronted by the group when he was searching for the phone. He said they asked him what he was looking for and he said he was looking for a phone. He said they later started yelling at him that he was a “rapist” and that he was trying to pick up “little girls.”

The defense asked if Miu ever told the group that he was looking for girls and Miu responded, “Of course not, that’s pathetic.”

Miu said she approached the group because she saw someone with a phone in a bag and wanted to see if that was the one her friend left behind. She said as she ran to check the phone, she tripped and fell into one of the tubers.

Miu said that at one point she dropped her snorkel and goggles, so she had to search around the group’s tubes. She said the group told her she “has 10 seconds” to leave the area, but he ignored them. While looking for the snorkel and goggles, Miu said the teenagers started approaching him.

He said another group, who appeared to be adults, approached him and tried to explain to a woman, Madison Coen, what they were looking for. She said Coen wouldn’t listen to her and told her to get away from her. Miu said he told her not to touch him, because she was “pulling on him” and trying to drag him down the river.

“He didn’t even try to reprimand the children for shouting,” Miu said.

As the group got even closer to him, Miu said he became more fearful and testified that he went to get his pocket knife because he was worried. He said that when they pushed him and attacked him, he pulled it out. He clarified that he pulled out the knife before receiving the punch.

Miu said that he didn’t move away from the group because they were too close to him.

Summary of day 6

The second week of the trial began. with testimony from Owen Peloquin, 19, who was at the river with Schuman that day and said he was Schuman’s best friend. Pelqouin said that Miu made her group feel “super uncomfortable” and that he heard Miu say “something about little girls.” The defense contended that interview records show that Peloquin did not tell police that Miu said he was looking for “little girls.” But Peloquin said that’s what he remembered.

Dr. Brian Myer, a trauma surgeon who was working at Regions Hospital in St. Paul on the day of the stabbings, testified about the severity of the injuries. Myer said Martin’s injury caught his attention because he had never before had a patient with such a large, penetrating wound.

Nurse Ashley Hoffman testified about how she examined Miu after the stabbings. She said he reported being hit in the back and the back of the head, but that he did not have any pain in those areas. She also said she couldn’t find anything to suggest he had been choked or punched in the face.

Lead investigator John Shilts took the stand to discuss the investigative process. After that, two previous witnesses returned to the stand: St. Croix County Sgt. Benjamin Trebian and Detective Carlos de la Cruz of the New Richmond Police Department. Legal expert Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, told WCCO that the prosecution was using these witnesses to try to discredit previous testimony from members of Miu’s party.

In a somewhat unusual move, the defense was allowed to call witnesses on Monday afternoon because none of the prosecution’s remaining witnesses were available. St. Croix County Investigator Andrew Dittman, bystander Roberto Baldazo and Miu’s friend Amanda Torres took the stand on behalf of the defense.

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