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Continued: Surveillance video of New Brighton home shows neighbor pacing hours before fatal shots were fired

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 13, 2014 - 3:44 PM

Olson said the activity carried on for about 40 to 45 minutes.

A portion of that color surveillance video was then played in court showing the shooting.

It did not show Stevens and Damerow-Cleven at the time of the shooting, but rather, the front yard of the Zumberge home as captured from a camera mounted on the front of Stevens’ house.

The quality was poor, with no sound, and Neal Zumberge could barely be identified in the far right corner of the screen at the side of the house at the time of the shooting. (Olson later said the visual quality was better on a small screen.)

The video started with Neal Zumberge returning home from walking his dog. Minutes later, Damerow-Cleven was shown driving into her driveway and walking past the camera. She quickly walked off screen and wasn’t visible for the rest of the clip.

The video also showed Paula Zumberge standing at the edge of her yard near the mailbox apparently engaged in some type of conversation with Damerow-Cleven. The shooting occurs at some point, but is difficult to discern.

Toward the end of the clip, Paula Zumberge is seen walking into her home, exiting and going to two cars parked in her driveway, re-entering her home and then exiting one last time. She eventually drove off in one of the cars.

Damerow-Cleven previously testified that she and Stevens installed the security camera because of the dispute with Neal Zumberge.

Christie has said Paula Zumberge yelled words of encouragement as Neal Zumberge squeezed off four rounds. But Wolf maintains that no such words were ever uttered by his client.

Paula Zumberge allegedly fled the murder scene before a throng of sheriff’s deputies and police officers poured into the 2500 block of Knollwood Drive known for the “deer drama” that was poisoning relations between the two households.

When police finally caught up with her a few days later at her mother’s home in Columbia Heights, she refused to show her face. She refused to talk. Her mother handed her lawyer’s business card to a police detective and shut the door.

The Zumberge family had been frustrated with Stevens for his habit of feeding deer, according to court and police records, and believed that Neal Zumberge and the family dog had contracted Lyme disease from a deer tick.

The dispute came to a head on May 5 when Damerow-Cleven called police on the Zumberges’ son, Jacob. Jacob Zumberge was wanted by police for a previous incident in which he allegedly threatened to kill Damerow-Cleven and Stevens.

In his opening statements Monday, Wolf said that his client didn’t know what her husband was going to do because she was at the front of their property while he was further back.

Wolf said that Paula Zumberge would testify that she confronted Damerow-Cleven: “What’s wrong with you, [expletive]? You don’t go after my children.”

Then the shots rang out.

“She was stunned,” Wolf said of his client’s reaction to the shooting. “She didn’t know what was going on.”

Wolf said Neal Zumberge told his wife, “Leave, just leave.” But Paula Zumberge was so “frantic” she couldn’t find her car keys, prompting her husband to hand over his keys, Wolf said.

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