Sister speaks about brother's Mankato murder charges - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

MANKATO MURDER: Sister wonders if war changed her brother

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  • Minneapolis man charged with Mankato murder

    Minneapolis man charged with Mankato murder

    Friday, June 7 2013 5:49 PM EDT2013-06-07 21:49:30 GMT
    A 24-year-old Minneapolis man was charged Friday with murder in Thursday's stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend and attack of her husband in Mankato, Minn.
    A 24-year-old Minneapolis man was charged Friday with murder in Thursday's stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend and attack of her husband in Mankato, Minn.
MANKATO, Minn. (KMSP) -

The sister of a 24-year-old Minneapolis man was charged Friday with murder in Thursday's stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend and attack of her husband in Mankato, Minn., says she wonders if war changed him.

Levi Minissale was a proud United States Marine, but now, he's sitting in Blue Earth County Jail. Now, his family is left to wonder if the nightmares of war have turned him into a murderer back home.

Tanya Minissale is having a difficult time coming to terms with younger brother Levi's charges.

"I know he's had flashbacks. I know he has a hard time sleeping. I know he struggles with different emotions," she said. His sister describes him as gentle, kind and timid.

Tanya remembers fondly her brother Levi growing up and going off to serve his country in the Marines.

"I watched him come out. Seen the look on his face. Carrying the American flag. Singing, chanting, really amazing," she said.

Tanya believes something changed in Levi, explaining he explained he was assigned to an artillery unit and saw combat in Afghanistan.

"He did say he got shot at a lot," Tanya said. "He did almost die. He told me he saw somebody die in his platoon."

Levi's public Facebook page says he got out of the Marines in June, last year.

He told authorities he met Yesenia Gonzalez eight months later. She lived with her husband in Mankato, but the relationship was described as open and Levi and Yesenia apparently got close.

"My brother cared about her a lot," Tanya said.

It's not clear exactly what happened next, but Tanya believes there were issues of love and commitment that her brother struggled to grasp, perhaps impacted by his experiences at war.

On Thursday morning, Levi showed up at Yesenia's house, allegedly grabbed a hunting knife from his vehicle and slashed her throat after a heated argument.

The 20-year-old died in the kitchen. He also attacked her husband. Levi was arrested at a nearby gas station.

"I cried like losing somebody because I feel like I lost my brother," Tanya said.

Tanya told FOX 9 News tears have been shed mourning the death of the young woman she met on one occasion.

She remains committed to getting her brother the help he may need after surviving a war, but allegedly turning into a killer here at home.

"He's been waiting to get out of the Marines. He gets out. This happens."

Levi is behind bars charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder. His sister hopes Levi's state of mind and possible war-related mental health issues are factors as the case moves forward.

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