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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Testimony ends in case of Minn. shooting over deer feed

  • The attorney for a woman accused of encouraging her husband to shoot their neighbor wrapped up his case Wednesday without calling any witnesses, saying he didn't think prosecutors had proven their case.
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  • The attorney for a woman accused of encouraging her husband to shoot their neighbor wrapped up his case Wednesday without calling any witnesses, saying he didn't think prosecutors had proven their case.
    Paula Zumberge, 50, faces charges including aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Her attorney, Gary Wolf, said he had planned to call both her and her husband to the stand, but changed his mind after seeing how the trial went.
    "The case went in so well for the defense that there was no need to put any defense case on," Wolf said afterward.
    Zumberge had waived her right to a jury trial. The case is now in the hands of a Ramsey County judge, who is expected to issue a ruling next week.
    Prosecutors say Zumberge threatened her neighbor's life, and then urged her husband to open fire. Neal Zumberge, 57, is charged separately with shooting and killing Todd G. Stevens and wounding Jennifer Damerow-Cleven in May.
    Investigators say Neal Zumberge blamed his Lyme disease on Stevens' practice of feeding deer in their backyard.
    During his closing arguments, Wolf accused Damerow-Cleven of lying on the witness stand. He said she was angry that she lost her boyfriend, and she wanted to exact revenge by making Paula Zumberge suffer as well.
    During three days of testimony, prosecutor Anna Christie tried to show that the Zumberges planned to bait Stevens and Damerow-Cleven into giving them a reason to use lethal force.
    Damerow-Cleven testified that she and her neighbors went through a series of mild confrontations, and said things escalated when the Zumberges' son threatened her at a bingo event.
    Police arrested the son May 5, and Damerow-Cleven said when she arrived at her New Brighton home that evening, Paula Zumberge shouted at her and then encouraged her armed husband to open fire.
    Neal Zumberge's trial hasn't started yet. He is due in court Friday for a scheduling hearing.

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