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Continued: New Brighton shooting victim takes the stand

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 12, 2014 - 12:09 AM

When she got home, she said, Paula Zumberge was standing at the edge of the Zumberge property and yelling at her for calling the police.

Damerow-Cleven told the court that Paula Zumberge said, “[Expletive], I’m going to kill you myself,” prompting Stevens to step outside of his house to intervene.

Damerow-Cleven then dabbed a tissue to her eyes, taking several minutes to collect herself before she recounted how Neal Zumberge allegedly killed Stevens in the couple’s front yard.

“It just happened so fast,” she said. “[Neal Zumberge] was just standing there with a blank look on his face. I think I said, ‘Run,’ first. ‘He’s got a gun,’ and Todd said, ‘He shot me,’ and he took a few steps … and I just started running. It’s like [Todd] fell and just crawled up into a fetal position.”

Christie played the recording of Damerow-Cleven’s 911 call after the shooting. Damerow-Cleven is heard yelling for police to hurry. Near the end of the call, she brought up Paula Zumberge, but not by name.

“And take his [expletive] wife, too!” Damerow-Cleven yelled. “She’s the one who came out and started it!”

‘Stood and stared’

Earlier Monday, Wolf said the dispute was always with Neal Zumberge, not Paula, a point he tried to reinforce in cross-examination of neighbors, including Shawn and Jennifer Bortel, who live next door to the Stevens and Damerow-Cleven home.

Shawn Bortel testified that he heard women arguing and then four gunshots. Jennifer Bortel testified that she heard only the gunshots. Jennifer Bortel said she saw Paula Zumberge standing at the end of the Zumberge driveway for a minute or two after the shooting before driving away in a car. She said Zumberge appeared “calm.”

Neighbor Heidi Nauss testified that she heard a woman yelling before the shooting but couldn’t decipher the words.

“For quite a while [Paula Zumberge] stood and stared” after Stevens was shot, Nauss said.

Asked about Paula Zumberge’s demeanor, Nauss said, “It was calm, I guess.”

Paula Zumberge’s trial will resume Tuesday and could wrap up by Wednesday with testimony by Neal and Paula Zumberge, whom Wolf expects will testify.

Paula Zumberge waived her right to a jury trial, meaning Judge Lezlie Ott Marek will issue verdicts.

A trial date for Neal Zumberge, charged with second-degree murder with intent and attempted second-degree murder, has yet to be set.

 

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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