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Trial In New Brighton Feud Shooting Begins

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Emotional testimony came in court Monday from the woman involved in a feud over feeding deer that ended with her boyfriend being shot and killed.

She says the neighbor’s wife started the fatal sequence of events.

Fifty-year-old Paula Zumberge is on trial for aiding and abetting second-degree murder. She is accused of yelling “keep shooting” as her husband, Neal, fired a shotgun at their neighbors in New Brighton last May.

Todd Stevens was killed and his girlfriend, Jennifer Cleven, survived being shot twice. She gave testimony on the opening day of the trial at the Ramsey County Courthouse.

Stevens’ death outside the home he shared with Cleven was the fatal ending to a long running feud.

Neal and Paula Zumberge lived across the street, and they didn’t like Stevens feeding deer.

Cleven testified that she feared the Zumberges constant harassment.

“I would come home and find dead animals, deer legs and dead squirrels on my yard,” she said. “I was scared.”

Prosecutor Anna Christie played Cleven’s frantic 911 call, on which she is heard screaming for help as Stevens lay dying on the front lawn.

Paula Zumberge sat motionless in court as the disturbing audio was played. She waived her right to a jury trial so a judge is hearing testimony and will render a verdict.

Cleven testified that she heard somebody say, “Shoot ‘em, shoot ‘em.” It was Paula’s voice.

But defense attorney Gary Wolf challenged the notion that Paula Zumberge said anything to encourage the shooting.

“You really didn’t have a problem with Paula Zumberge, never filed a restraining order against her, never called police?” Wolf asked Cleven.

Cleven said it was Paula Zumberge who began the swearing and screaming that night, and caused her husband to come out with a shotgun.

The trial will likely go through at least Wednesday. That’s when Judge Leslie Marek will have seven days to deliver her verdict.

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