A 23-year-old Minnesota man has been charged with two counts of murder in the second degree in connection with the stabbing death of a 37-year-old woman. Charges of intentional second degree murder and second degree murder while committing second degree assault were filed against the man on Aug. 13. Each of the counts carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

The facts of the case, according to news reports, are that the man was at the home of the woman, along with the woman’s stepfather and a few other people. At some point, the man and the stepfather began playfighting. The woman left the house after the playfighting became more violent, with her stepfather head-butting the man after the latter had punched him. Some time after she left the house, the man came outside and the woman pushed him.

He responded by pushing her back and pulling a pocket knife. He then allegedly stabbed her under her arm, in the upper chest. She remained conscious for approximately 15 minutes and then fell unconscious. The man reportedly attempted to help her by sticking his finger into the would to stop the bleeding. She later died, despite efforts of emergency medical personnel.

In cases like this, where violent crimes are alleged, a criminal defense attorney might be able to help by examining the criminal complaint and challenging the narrative presented by prosecutors. The attorney might gather evidence, conduct witness interviews or depose experts in order to build a case for trial. In some situations where the prosecution’s case seems to be solid, it might be advisable to negotiate a plea agreement.