Jury selection has begun for Deputy Carlton Nebergall, Jr. who is accused of shooting his daughter’s estranged husband, Jacob Lodge. Nebergall has pleaded not guilty to the charges but was denied a pre-trial release.
According to authorities, Lodge showed up at his former wife’s house to exchange clothing for their children. Also according to to arrest reports, Lodge was leaving the home when Nebergall allegedly shot him. Nebergall’s attorneys have argued that he believed Lodge was dangerous and a threat based on prior arrests and a criminal record that includes burglary. Nebergall has been charged with first-degree murder, so the stakes are very high in this case.
Stand Your Ground Defense
There was a court order in place that forbade Lodge from having any contact with Nebergall. According to Nebergall, Lodge had stepped out of his car and asked Nebergall if he was going to shoot him. Nebergall, knowing of Lodge’s violent history, did exactly that claiming that he saw some item in Lodge’s hand. Essentially, his defense team is arguing that Nebergall feared for his life when he fired the gun that killed Lodge.
Stand your ground is an affirmative defense to a charge of murder. Essentially, the defendant admits that the crime occurred, but disputes why it occurred and questions the legality of the proceedings. Stand your ground makes it difficult for prosecutors to file charges against someone who, in believing their own life is in danger, fires a gun at someone else even if it ends their life.
The prosecutors, on the other hand, are going to argue that Nebergall fired the pistol in anger, that he was not in fear of his life, and that his actions were aggressive. They will bolster this argument using the witness testimony of neighbors and show that Lodge was unarmed when he was shot.
The problem should be obvious. Both sides are arguing about what was in Carlton Nebergall’s mind when he pulled the trigger. Even if the evidence leans toward the prosecution’s theory that Nebergall was the aggressor, there’s no way to prove one way or the other that Nebergall was not afraid for his life when Lodge exited the car.
The Wife’s Testimony
Part of the prosecution’s case will be built on the witness statement Katrina Nebergall gave to the police. Katrina claims that Lodge was acting normal when he came over, but his expression changed when he saw her father who had come out of the house with a loaded gun screaming at Lodge. Nebergall fired a warning shot into the air and Katrina ran back into the home to check on her two sons. She says that Lodge was getting into his car and her father was still outside. After starting the car, Lodge turned it off and then got out. However, in the 911 call, Katrina said that her father was doing this on purpose and that he’d better not go inside with her kids.
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