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White man who allegedly stabbed Black man to death released on bond

White man who allegedly stabbed Black man to death released on bond
AJ Stewart (Photo courtesy of Stewart’s family)

The family of a Black man stabbed and killed by a White man over a parking spot is pleading for harsher charges against the defendant.

On Dec. 2 in St. Paul, Minnesota, 27-year-old Arnell “AJ” Stewart parked his car on a residential street while visiting his family. When he returned approximately 10 minutes later, 50-year-old Brian Kjellberg confronted Stewart about using the space to park. Attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong told rolling out Kjellberg has a history of harassing young Black people around the neighborhood.

Kjellberg said the two got into a confrontation that led Stewart to punch him in the face, despite there being no visible wounds on Kjellberg’s booking photo. Stewart’s family told rolling out they doubt the “goofy” 27-year-old got into a fight with a stranger, as he enjoyed doing community service and promoting positivity to teenagers in his free time. Kjellberg ultimately pulled out a homemade shank and stabbed Stewart once in the chest, according to Armstrong.

Stewart died as a result of the stabbing on Dec. 3.

Stewart’s family believes the killing was racially-motivated, as his mother Tabatha Lewis told rolling out she heard Kjellberg use the n-word to refer to people parking in “his” spot.

“Even in the first court hearing, in the bond hearing, he was even saying it then. I was on the Zoom, I heard the man say it out his own mouth,” Lewis recalled. “He’s tired of these n—– parking on the side of the house, which is not a house, it’s an old fire station. Where he parked was a public space, it was not a driveway.”

Kjellberg was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on Dec. 3. His initial bond of $1 million got reduced to $500,000, according to Armstrong, and he was released, only needing 10 percent of the bond amount.

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