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Video of Nicolae Miu's police interview shown during Apple River stabbing trial: "I feared for my life"

Prosecution nearing end of witnesses in Nicolae Miu’s Apple River stabbing trial
Prosecution nearing end of witnesses in Nicolae Miu’s Apple River stabbing trial 01:01

HUDSON, Wis. — Nicolae Miu repeatedly said he feared for his life on the day that he stabbed five people — killing one — on the Apple River, according to his police interview that was shown as part of his trial on Tuesday morning.

The video played as part of the testimony of Brandie Hart, a special services lieutenant with the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office, who interviewed Miu and his then-wife hours after the July 2022 stabbings.

The prosecution played the roughly hourlong video, which showed Miu in an orange suit sitting across the table from Hart.

Hart started the interview by asking Miu questions about his background — his address and his work history. Hart told Miu that she had already interviewed his now ex-wife, Sandi.

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"I have bigger dreams, now shattered," Miu told Hart. "I don't know exactly what happened, I can't talk about it. I need to go one step at a time." 

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Miu faces first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 17-year-old Isaac Shuman, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide for the stabbings of four others. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in September of 2022.

"All I can say, it was self-defense. Self-defense. There were lots of people on me. They came on to me," Miu told Hart, who had yet to tell him about the extent of the stabbings and the number of victims. "They hit me, they were on top of me and that's — I don't remember anything after that. I just remember I ran away. I ran away to my group."

Miu said he was planning to have a fun day down the river with his friends. He recalled that he had gone searching for his friend Ariel Chageuz-Layet's cell phone with his snorkeling goggles. He approached a group of "kids" to ask if they had seen the phone, but they started calling him names, including "child molester," he said. He added that they were drunk and took his snorkel away, throwing it into the water.

One of the young people tried to pull his pants down, Miu said, and another "had a knife on him." 

"And there was another knife. A longer knife. Looked like a kitchen knife," Miu said. When the person with the smaller knife "attacked," he took it, Miu said.

"I feared for my life. Tell you the truth, when they hit me and pointed a knife at me, and another kid pointed a knife, I thought that was it for me. Luckily I took it from one of the young kids," Miu told Hart.

He said he tripped and fell into the water "a couple of times" after he was hit in the ear and in the back. He recalled his friend told him that he was bleeding out of one ear.

When Hart asked Miu whether he had a knife, he replied "no." 

Earlier in the trial, witnesses testified that Miu had brought a knife to the river due to the urging of his friend Ernesto Chaguez, who wanted to be able to cut the ropes on the inner tubes. Miu's knife was found on the riverbank with DNA that strongly matched that of Schuman and Dante Carlson.

Miu told Hart that he had likely taken his knife back to the car.

In the latter half of the interview, Miu expressed that he was especially scared in the river because he was not in the best of health; he had a quadruple bypass after suffering a heart attack in 2020. He said he had been in bed for six months.

RELATED: Video of deadly fight that led to Apple River stabbing shown during opening arguments of Nicolae Miu trial

After he recounted the incident to Hart, Miu asked "so what happened? Can you tell me what happened?"

Hart then told Miu that four people went to the hospital with injuries, and one person died. 

"Oh my god," Miu said, putting his head in his hands. He asked if there was video of the incident.

"I'm glad I actually took that kid's knife. He would have stabbed me . . . he was there to harm me," Miu said. "At least I'm here. But I'm sorry for how it ended up."

Hart then took a DNA test and Miu showed her his hands, which were scraped up "not from the confrontation" but from the river. 

"I didn't touch those kids," he said.

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