ST. PAUL, Minnesota––Paula Zumberge, 50, was on August 19, 2014 acquitted of all counts in connection with the alleged murder of Todd Stevens, 46, in a dispute originating over Stevens and his partner, Jennifer Damerow-Cleven, 48, feeding deer in their yard in New Brighton, a Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb.
Ramsey County District Judge Lezlie Ott Marek ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that Paula Zumberge had in any way encouraged or assisted her husband Neal Curtis Zumberge, 57, when on May 6, 2014 he fatally shot Stevens and wounded Stevens’ partner Jennifer Damerow-Cleven, 48. Stevens’ dog was reportedly also hit in one foot by shot fragments.
Paula Zumberge was tried aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting attempted murder and aiding and abetting assault.
Neal Zumberge, charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder, is to be tried separately on November 10, 2014.
“Neal Zumberge told police he had caught Lyme disease from the deer that his neighbors habitually fed in their yard,” reported Emily Gurnon of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “The dispute between the neighbors began in early 2012 and soon escalated. Stevens and Damerow-Cleven discovered dead animals on their property, including two deer, over the following months. Their wildlife feeder disappeared. They suspected Neal Zumberge. His behavior became frightening, Damerow-Cleven testified. She filed for a harassment restraining order against him in April 2013. Paula Zumberge was not included in that order.”
(See also “Bear-feeding researcher loses radio collaring permit; deer feeder loses life,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2014/05/29/bear-feeding-researcher-loses-radio-collaring-permit-deer-feeder-loses-life/.)