Todd Stevens Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

Todd Stevens, an ordinary man leading an unassuming life, met a tragic fate when he was brutally attacked and killed right in front of his house, with his girlfriend also suffering harm. The immediate suspicions of both the police and neighbors pointed to a disturbing narrative. In ‘Vengeance: Killer Neighbors: Deerly Departed,’ the details of this murder are explored, unraveling the circumstances that led to such an end for all parties involved. Todd’s case serves as a reminder that individuals who may appear innocuous at first glance can inflict significant harm if they fail to contemplate the consequences of their actions.

How Did Todd Stevens Die?

Born on July 31, 1967, in Minnesota, Todd Stevens had rooted his life in the same state. By 2014, he was a resident of New Brighton, Ramsey County, sharing his life with his girlfriend, Jennifer Damerow-Cleven. His existence appeared to be in alignment with his desires, and outwardly, there seemed to be no apparent issues troubling him. On the evening of May 5, 2014, He was targeted in a shooting, enduring four gunshots. His girlfriend, Jennifer, also fell victim to the attack, sustaining a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Swiftly, Jennifer received immediate medical attention and responded to urgent care. Unfortunately, Todd, 46, succumbed to the injuries, passing away as a result of the shooting.

Jennifer Damerow-Cleven and Todd Stevens/Image Credit: Snapped

Who Killed Todd Stevens?

Todd’s neighbor, 58-year-old Neal Zumberge, quickly emerged as the alleged perpetrator as he barricaded himself within his house soon after the shooting. Police quickly connected the dots, learning that this duo had harbored a feud spanning over 15 years, marked by various disputes. Among these conflicts, the former had previously complained about Neal’s son, resulting in the son’s arrest and further fueling the escalating animosity between the two neighbors.

The conflicts between Todd and Neal were further compounded by another contentious issue. The 46-year-old had a routine of feeding deer in the vicinity of his residence, a practice that his neighbor vehemently disapproved of. Neal held the belief that deer were carriers of Lyme disease, and he attributed his and his dog’s contraction of the disease to Todd’s habit of luring them near the house.

The incident unfolded with a heated confrontation in the driveway between Todd’s girlfriend, Jennifer, and Neal’s wife, Paula. The dispute seemed to revolve around an ongoing disagreement between the two households. Paula appeared to confront Jennifer, and Todd joined in on the argument. Meanwhile, on the other side of Neal’s house, security footage captured him crawling out of a basement window, armed with a loaded shotgun. Peeking out and checking his surroundings multiple times, the latter eventually stepped out and opened fire on the couple. In the aftermath of the shooting, Paula was seen fleeing the scene while Neal retreated into his house, locking himself in.

Neal’s legal proceedings began in August 2015 after the police arrested him in connection with the incident. During the trial, he claimed he did not have the intention to kill Todd and that the automatic gun he possessed led to multiple shots being fired unintentionally. However, the prosecution swiftly countered this argument, presenting evidence from security cameras that suggested the accused had carefully planned his actions before the shooting. Additionally, Neal asserted that, from a distance, he could lip-read, and he perceived threats from Todd and his girlfriend to kill his wife, justifying his actions as self-defense rather than premeditated. He claimed that he thought his neighbor was reaching his belt to pull out a gun and was scared for his wife.

Following the conclusion of his trial in September 2015, Neal was convicted on charges of first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and second-degree attempted murder. During his sentencing hearing, he delivered a heartfelt apology to Todd’s family, acknowledging that he’d lied about the attack being an act of self-defense. He expressed regret for not being more patient and raising a metaphorical white flag before the situation escalated to such a tragic level. He even disclosed that he’d spoken with Todd’s mother, who had advised him to be patient with her son, and he acknowledged failing both his victim’s family and his own. In this 20-minute speech, he reminisced about the good times he shared with Todd before their relationship dynamics changed due to the latter’s alleged drinking and the deer incident.

The judge, while acknowledging the apparent sincerity of Neal’s apology, deemed that the nature of his atrocious crimes warranted a life sentence without the possibility of parole. We should mention that prior to this final decision, Todd’s girlfriend, Jennifer, had also delivered an impact statement – she referred to her late partner as the love of her life, whom Neal had callously taken away from this world without any consideration.

Read More: Where is Neal Zumberge Now?