Video not a smoking gun in New Brighton deer feeding murder - KMSP-TV

DEFENSE: 'We don't punish wives for the sins of the husband'

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Defense attorney Gary Wolf argues there is an overwhelming amount of reasonable doubt in the case against his client, Paula Zumberge. He's asking Ramsey County Judge Lezlie Ott Marek to find Zumberge not guilty for her role in the New Brighton, Minn. neighborhood feud that led to a murder.

“We don't punish the wives for the sins of the husband,” Wolf said. “We don't do that.”

In fact, Wolf was so confident, he didn't call a single witness as part of his defense -- not Paula Zumberge, and not the assumed gunman, Paula's husband Neal Zumberge.

“I'm not sure what a guy is going to say on the stand,” Wolf said. “I don't need to put on a case if the presumption of innocence hasn't been removed. And there's reasonable doubt.”

In her closing argument prosecutor Anna Christie painted a picture of husband and wife working, and then killing, in tandem. Paula and Neal Zumberge were in a nasty, years long feud with the neighbors across the street, primarily about feeding deer.

On May 5, it hit a breaking point.

Christie argued Paula Zumberge was responsible for drawing Todd Stevens and Jennifer Cleven out of their house on Knollwood Drive, while her armed husband lied in wait. The last piece of evidence Christie introduced was a digital video recording taken from a surveillance camera at the Stevens' house before, during and after the shooting.

On the courtroom screen the images were fuzzy, and there was no audio. What you can see in the video recording is Paula Zumberge next to her mailbox, on her side of the street. Prosecutors contend she is calm and doesn't flinch when her husband Neal Zumberge opens fire with his semi-automatic shotgun.

The prosecution believes Paula's lack of reaction is a sign she knew what was going to happen, placing herself out of the line of fire. Allegedly, hours earlier, the video shows Neal Zumberge seemingly scouting out his shooting location, though that portion of the video wasn't played in court.

Back in the New Brighton neighborhood, those who live near the two houses are just thankful the hate and the violence are long gone.


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