Former Palm Beach Sheriff’s Officer Carlton Nebergall will stand trial again for the shooting of his daughter’s estranged husband. The defense will argue that Nebergall acted in self-defense while the prosecution will say that Nebergall had malicious intent and should therefore be convicted of first-degree murder.
After the first trial ended in a mistrial, Palm Beach prosecutors elected to try Nebergall again.
The Facts of the Case
The man Nebergall is accused of shooting is his son-in-law who was estranged from his daughter at the time of the incident. Nebergall’s attorneys will show that Jacob Lodge violated a no-contact order when he came to Nebergall’s house that day. They will also produce evidence that Lodge and Nebergall had a long history of animosity toward one another. They will also introduce evidence that Lodge had a long history of violence. Additionally, Lodge stole jewelry from Nebergall’s home—a crime to which he pleaded guilty. While these are all worthwhile points, they stop short of proving that Nebergall acted in self-defense.
Lodge came to Nebergall’s home to deliver their children’s clothing to Kristina Nebergall, who was staying with her father. Kristina met Lodge in the street, but as she was speaking to Lodge, she noticed him looking back into the home. When she turned around, she saw her father there holding a weapon which he discharged in the air as a warning shot. At that point, Kristina went back inside to check on her children.
This is where stories diverge on what happened. Lodge apparently got into his car and proceeded to leave. The defense says that Nebergall believed the altercation was over having made his point by firing the gun and presumably asking Lodge to leave. But Lodge stopped the vehicle abruptly and then got out of the car. The defense says that Nebergall was in fear for his life so he fired his gun at Lodge and killed him. Law enforcement was unable to find a gun or any weapon on Lodge after the incident.
Overcoming a Self-Defense Plea
Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute makes it very hard on prosecutors to try a case against a self-defense plea, particularly one involving a firearm. Prosecutors will need to prove that Nebergall was not in fear of his life and instead had designs on shooting Lodge regardless of how Lodge responded. The fact that Lodge got into his car and then got back out represents a serious hurdle for their narrative. To do so, they will claim that Nebergall initiated the entire altercation, but even instigating the fight isn’t enough to prove that Nebergall wasn’t acting in self-defense.
Talk to a Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re being charged with a major crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help defend you from the charges. Call today and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.