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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