Home » Wisconsin river stabbing suspect convicted after claiming self-defense in tubing fight that killed teen

Wisconsin river stabbing suspect convicted after claiming self-defense in tubing fight that killed teen

by John Jefferson
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Nicolae Miu was convicted Thursday after fatally stabbing a high school student and injuring four others during a fight on a Wisconsin river that he said was self-defense.

Miu and the others had been tubing on the Apple River on July 30, 2022 when a fight broke out, which resulted in the death of Isaac Schuman, 17.  

After eight days in court and 40 witnesses’ testimony, Miu was convicted of reckless homicide, battery and four counts of recklessly endangering safety.

Investigators wrote in court documents that Minnesota native Miu attacked the group after people accused him of approaching children in the water with a snorkel and goggles – but Miu said that he was looking for a cellphone in the water, and that he attacked the group out of self-defense, according to the Associated Press. 

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Video shown to jurors showed Miu punching a woman in the group, appearing to start the altercation. After he falls into the water, he can be seen reemerging gripping a knife and stabbing one of the teens, the AP reported. 

The footage also captured someone in the crowd approaching Miu saying he was “looking for little girls” before the attack. Earlier, another witness captured a video of a shirtless Miu grabbing onto a group’s tube before someone shouted at him to get away, Fox News Digital previously reported.

Defense attorneys argued that the group taunted Miu and swarmed around him in a scene that “quickly turned into… 13 against one,” KARE 11 reported. 

“A group of drunk teenagers… saw an opportunity to torment a man who was by himself,” defense attorney Corey Chirafisi said. “They did this for no legitimate purpose.” 

Miu had also been tubing down the river with his wife and a small group of friends, according to court documents obtained by Minnesota Public Radio.

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Nicolae Miu knife

When asked whether he needed to pull out his knife, which was displayed for jurors in court, Miu said that he “absolutely” did, and that he believed he “would have been killed that day” if he didn’t act. 

“They attacked me,” he told investigators, according to the AP. “I was in self-defense mode.”

But St. Croix County District Attorney Karl Anderson called Miu’s actions “senseless acts of violence,” saying that “all Nicolae Miu had to do was walk away.”

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Nicolae Miu

In addition to outlining moments where Miu could have walked away, prosecutors questioned why Miu initially lied to law enforcement – initially, NBC Chicago reported, he told police that one of the two boys in the group pulled out a knife. 

Miu later admitted this was a lie: “As you can see, I was very confused,” Miu said in court, according to the outlet. 

Isaac Schuman's dad Donny Hernandez

The case largely hinged on witness cellphone video that recorded part of the altercation – jurors reportedly asked to see the footage again before delivering their verdict, NBC Chicago reported.

Defense attorney Aaron Nelson said he was “respectfully disappointed” by Thursday’s verdict, and that Miu was “sad, obviously disappointed” and “contemplating his future life,” according to the AP. 

Schuman was heading into his senior year at Stillwater High School – his family described him as an honor roll student who was preparing to apply to several universities and study electrical engineering. 

Miu’s sentencing date has not yet been scheduled. 

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