Second man denies punching Kolstad in Mankato brawl

Published 10:18am Thursday, May 15, 2014

By Curt Brown

MANKATO —Assault charges were filed Wednesday against a second man in a nasty brawl last weekend in Mankato that left a man in critical condition with head injuries.

Trevor Shelley, 21, of St. Peter, was scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday on first- and third-degree assault. Isaac Kolstad, 24, remains hospitalized in critical condition.

The criminal complaint against Shelley is similar to charges filed against former Minnesota Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson, who allegedly kicked Kolstad in the head after a punch from Shelley left Kolstad unconscious and defenseless on the street outside bars that had just closed Sunday morning.

When authorities asked Shelley if he had struck Kolstad, he “stated that he did not.” Told that surveillance cameras in the area might have captured what happened, “Shelley maintained that he did not hit anyone.”

But another witness told police he saw Shelley at 3 a.m. that morning and Shelley, wearing a ripped red shirt, said he had been downtown and walked up to someone that was “starting something” with Nelson. Shelley allegedly told the person at 3 a.m. that he “wound up and hit him as hard as he could.”

Both Nelson and Shelley attended Mankato West High School.

But an officer who reviewed those tapes said Kolstad “immediately goes limp and collapses” after being punched in the face by a suspect wearing a red shirt. Other witnesses quoted in the complaint told authorities Shelley’s red shirt was torn in the altercation.

Nelson, 20, is out on $20,000 bail and has since been cut from the Rutgers football team, where he transferred after starting 16 games the last two seasons with the Gophers. His lawyer, Jim Fleming, insisted in court this week that Nelson wasn’t the aggressor in the brawl and the complaint says Kolstad first struck Nelson before Shelley ran to the scene and delivered a punch.

Kolstad, a young father and former football player at Minnesota State, Mankato, suffered a fractured skull, brain bleeding and lung issues after being knocked out, allegedly by Shelley, and then kicked by Nelson, according to the complaint.

—Distributed by MCT Information Services

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