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Man involved in stabbing over iguana sentenced to eight years in prison

A 50-year-old Minneapolis man was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for a stabbing that happened in Alexandria last April over a pet iguana.

John Leslie Anderson, who was found guilty in a jury trial last September, was sentenced in Douglas County District Court Friday by Judge Ann Carrott to 104 months in prison.

His first-degree assault conviction stemmed from an altercation on April 11, 2010 when Anderson stabbed Wade Burnside, 19, of Alexandria, with a 12-inch kitchen knife after Burnside and two friends tried to take an iguana from the residence where Anderson was staying.

At the trial, Tisha Keller, the owner of the iguana, testified that her aunt, Jennifer Larson, said she wouldn't give the iguana back unless Keller paid her the $200 Larson claimed Keller owed.

Keller also testified that Larson said she was going to leave the iguana's heat lamp off until she got paid.

Burnside, Tyler Galstad and Briant Weber all testified that they went to the residence where the iguana was at, 1102 Hawthorne, in an attempt to retrieve the pet. When they grabbed the iguana and the fish tank it was in and turned to leave, Anderson was holding a 12-inch kitchen knife, blocking the door, according to prosecutors.

The three men testified that when Anderson lunged at Burnside with the knife, Burnside threw the fish tank toward Anderson and the two grappled.

During this exchange, Burnside was stabbed in the chest. The knife punctured a lung and Burnside was flown to the Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment, where he then recovered from his wounds.

A DNA expert from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified that the blood on the knife matched the DNA from Burnside.

The defense claimed that Anderson acted in self-defense when he stabbed Burnside, but the jury rejected that argument.