ST. PAUL, Minn. - The fate of a New Brighton woman on trial in the death of her neighbor now sits in the hands of a Ramsey County judge.
Closing arguments were given early Wednesday afternoon in the trial of 50-year-old Paula Zumberge. Zumberge is accused of plotting with her husband Neal Zumberge to kill their neighbor, 46-year-old Todd Stevens after years of feuding.
In their final statement prosecutors argued that Paula and Neal Zumberge were in it together, hatching a plan to lure Stevens and his girlfriend Jennifer Cleven outside so Neal could shoot them. They alleged that the plan called for Paula to be out of the line of fire, and that she would then escape the scene so she would not be held responsible.
"We're ending this today, when it's over you get the hell out of here, that's what Neal said to Paula," Assistant Prosecutor Anna Christie maintained.
Defense attorney Gary Wolf says it all comes down to the words of Jennifer Cleven, who alleges that Paula Zumberge shouted "shoot, shoot, keep shooting," as her husband fired at Stevens and Cleven. "The truth is found in the 911 call, where Jennifer, quote, said 'she said something.' That was the only time she mentioned something about Paula."
Judge Lezlie Ott-Marek will decide the case. She expects to reach a verdict within the next seven days.
The trial came to a sudden end after Wolf informed the judge that neither Paula or Neal Zumberge would take the stand in her defense. Wolf made the revelation late Wednesday morning, after portions of a highly-anticipated surveillance video that captured the fatal shooting of Stevens was played in court. KARE 11's Boua Xiong says prosecutors played segments before 46-year-old Todd Stevens was shot, and the footage immediately afterwards, but did not play the tape of the actual alleged murder.
Instead, BCA agent Chris Olson described what he saw in the footage, recalling how Neal Zumberge spent considerable time on the south side of his home hours before the shooting. Olson told the courtroom that after some comings and goings from both the Zumberge and Stevens homes, Paula Zumberge walks to the end of her driveway and engages Stevens' girlfriend Jennifer Cleven in a confrontation. He said Neal Zumberge walks into frame on the south side of his home, the same spot he had been seen hours before, and opens fire.
There is no audio on the surveillance footage, which came from a four camera system Stevens installed outside his home. One of the cameras was pointed directly at the Zumberge property.
Paula Zumberge is charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder, second degree attempted murder, and two counts of second degree assault. Zumberge has pleaded not guilty to all counts.