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Murder charges reinstated in 2013 Alexandria stabbing

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — A 30-year-old Alexandria man who had second-degree murder charges dismissed against him three years ago is back in court facing the same charges.

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Kody Lee Klimek was booked into the Douglas County Jail on two second-degree murder charges — intentional and unintentional — and a third-degree murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of Phillip Altstadt, 28, on June 1, 2013, near the Lincoln Estates apartment complex in Alexandria.

The Douglas County Attorney's Office dismissed those same charges against Klimek in May 2014 because crucial witnesses could not be located in time for a trial.

At that time, Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson explained: "Klimek is claiming self‐defense. Two key witnesses who observed the stabbing could not be located for trial. The law requires that these witnesses testify in person, in court. It would be irresponsible of me to present this case to a jury without these crucial witnesses and gamble with a verdict."

Instead, Larson decided to dismiss the charges "without prejudice."

"This means that I fully intend to prosecute this case once these essential witnesses are located and available to testify," Larson said at the time. "This case is far from over."

The criminal complaint filed Monday noted that the prosecution now knows the location of both witnesses.

Larson could not be reached Wednesday for comment on the reinstatement of the charges.

As of Wednesday night, Klimek remained in custody at the Douglas County Jail.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Saturday, June 1, 2013, Alexandria police officers and emergency medical services responded to Lincoln Estates for a reported stabbing. When officers arrived, Altstadt was found lying in the grass with stab wounds to his arm and chest.

He died a short time later.

Klimek and Altstadt got into an argument in the parking lot, according to the complaint. Witnesses said that after Klimek shouted to Altstadt, Altstadt approached him, yelled back and pushed Klimek, who retaliated with a knife.

A witness said the push didn't appear to be "very hard," according to the complaint.

After stabbing Altstadt, Klimek walked toward the All-Stop gas station and hastened his pace once bystanders began screaming, according to the complaint. Klimek was apprehended at gunpoint on Seventh Avenue East within 40 minutes of the 911 call and had a bloody knife in his possession.

The arresting officer reported there was blood on Klimek's face, hands and clothing. Once in the squad car, Klimek told the officer, "He came at me, I was scared for my life," according to the complaint.

Altstadt was born in Detroit Lakes. He later attended high school in Alexandria, graduating in 2003. He went on to study at Alexandria Technical and Community College. Altstadt had two daughters, Nevaeh and Eden.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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