New Brighton PD email warned of escalating neighbor feud - FOX 35 News Orlando

New Brighton PD email warned of escalating neighbor feud

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Tuesday marked Day 2 of testimony in the trial of Paula Zumberge, the New Brighton, Minn. woman charged in the shooting death of her neighbor in the climax of a lengthy feud over the feeding of deer.

Taking the witness stand on Tuesday were several New Brighton police officers and detectives. Each and every one of them detailed the nasty feud between the neighbors on Knollwood Drive -- Neal and Paula Zumberge on one side, Todd Stevens and girlfriend Jennifer Cleven on the other.

The fight eventually escalated to murder on May 5. We learned that days before the deadly shooting, one officer actually sent out a department-wide email warning that tensions were escalating between the two households.

It's alleged Neal Zumberge opened fire with a semiautomatic shotgun as his wife was engaged in a loud verbal altercation with Cleven. Stevens came out of the house and suffered fatal shotgun injuries to his brain, heart and spinal cord during the altercation.


PHOTO: Todd Stevens and Jennifer Cleven

Day 2 twist

The question in this trial though isn't if Neal Zumberge is a murderer. The question is whether or not Paula Zumberge aided and abetted in the killing.

In a fascinating courtroom twist, defense attorney Gary Wolf said Paula's husband deserves all of the blame.

“Looking at all the options I think she has to put the blame squarely on him, and say she was just there caught up in a moment, but didn't want the victim dead,” said defense attorney John Conard, who isn't directly involved in the case.

Key piece of evidence

I asked Conard what we should be looking for when perhaps the biggest piece of evidence is introduced -- a surveillance videotape of the shooting, taken from the home of Stevens and Cleven.

“I'd be looking at body language,” he said. “Wanting to see how close she is. Is she advancing toward the fight? In short, taken as the whole, does she seem to be part in helping to make sure this guy is dead at the end?”

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