$1 million bail for neighbor held in deadly disagreement over deer

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2014 - 9:56 PM

New Brighton resident accused of shooting his neighbors, one fatally, in a dispute over feeding deer.

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Neal C. Zumberge.

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A Ramsey County district judge set bail at $1 million Friday for Neal C. Zumberge, the New Brighton man accused of gunning down his neighbors with a shotgun after a feud over feeding deer.

Prosecutors had asked Judge Jeffrey Bryan for bail at $1.5 million in the case, citing the seriousness of the charges that Zumberge shot and killed Todd Stevens, 46, and wounded Stevens’ girlfriend, Jennifer Damerow Cleven, 48, in early May.

Stevens and Cleven lived across the street from Zumberge. He had allegedly been angry with them for feeding deer that pass through the neighborhood.

Zumberge’s attorney, Bill Orth, argued for a much lower bail amount — $250,000. Orth said his client has a constitutional right to bail, has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and has to sell his house to afford his legal fees.

Bryan said the potential for Zumberge to serve a very long sentence if convicted, as well as the nature of his alleged crime, compelled him to set a high bail.

Zumberge, 57, pleaded not guilty Friday. His next hearing is scheduled for July 17. He has been charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. Zumberge’s wife, Paula, has also been charged in the case for allegedly encouraging her husband to shoot the neighbors.

James Walsh • 651-925-5041

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