Neal Zumberge charged with murder for shooting neighbor over deer feeding dispute [MUGSHOT]
Neal Zumberge's mugshot
Today, New Brighton resident Neal Zumberge was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder for allegedly shooting up a couple who lived next to him Monday evening following a dispute over their habit of feeding deer in their yard, among other beefs.
According to the charges, the homicidal chain of events began with an encounter between Zumberge's neighbors and Zumberge's son at a Spring Lake Park VFW on April 29.
Zumberge's son accused the couple "of causing his father to contract Lyme disease because they feed the deer in their yard," the charges say. "He threatened to burn down their house."
The couple again ran into Zumberge's son again Monday, this time at Acapulco Restaurant in New Brighton. They called police, and at about 6 p.m. police arrested the son on suspicion of making terroristic threats in connection with the April 29 incident.
The woman, 48-year-old Jennifer Cleven, drove home to her house on the 2500 block of Knollwood Drive around 8:30 p.m. A confrontation ensued.
"As she walked up to the house, the defendant's wife, Paula Anne Zumberge, confronted her and said, 'You fucking bitch, you put my son in jail,'" the charges say. Cleven's longtime boyfriend, Todd Stevens, "heard the confrontation and came outside. Suddenly, the defendant appeared with a shotgun and started shooting several rounds at them."
Stevens hit the ground, but Cleven managed to stagger inside and call police.
"She hid around the corner as the shots were coming into the house," the charges say. "She heard Paula Zumberge yelling, 'Shoot, shoot, shoot, keep shooting,' while the defendant was shooting the shotgun."
When officers arrived on the scene, they found Stevens dead on his front steps and Cleven inside, bleeding from two abdominal wounds.
"He shot us, I knew he was going to do this!" Cleven exclaimed, according to the charges.
Cleven told officers what happened, and police went next door and arrested Zumberge, 57, without incident. A neighbor later told authorities she saw Paula Zumberge driving away from the scene following the shooting.
In a post-Miranda interview, Neal Zumberge admitted to shooting Stevens with a 12-gauge shotgun, but claimed he didn't shoot Cleven. He said he'd been feuding with Stevens for 15 years. Along the same lines, the complaint notes that even before Monday's incident, "Officers were familiar with [the Zumberges'] address and knew that the residents had an ongoing dispute with the neighbors directly across Knollwood Drive."
A Ramsey County courts spokesperson says they have no record of Paula Zumberge being arrested in connection with the incident. A call to New Brighton police asking if she ever turned up after being seen driving off wasn't immediately returned.
To read the entire complaint for yourself, click to page two.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at email@example.com.
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