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Judge declares mistrial in first-degree murder trial of retired Palm Beach County deputy

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Posted at 12:35 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 18:38:51-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A judge declared a mistrial on Tuesday afternoon in the high profile murder trial of a retired Palm Beach County deputy who's accused of shooting and killing his son-in-law nearly two years ago.

Carlton Nebergall Jr. is charged with first-degree murder in the deadly shooting of his daughter’s estranged husband, Jacob Lodge, on Feb. 18, 2018.

According to an arrest report, Nebergall’s daughter claimed Lodge showed up to her home to exchange clothing for their two children. The report said Nebergall walked out of the house as Lodge tried to leave and shot him. Lodge was not armed, according to investigators.

On Monday, Nebergall testified that Lodge had a history of violence and his daughter recently filed for divorce.

Nebergall told the jury he walked outside that night with a loaded revolver and fired a warning shot into the air.

"I raised the pistol and pointed it off to the east and fired one round into the air," Nebergall recalled.

Nebergall said Lodge then got into his car and started driving away. But then, Nebergall said Lodge suddenly stopped, opened the door, and appeared to be looking for something.

Nebergall told the court he believed Lodge had a gun and claimed he was in fear of his life when he shot Lodge in the head.

"He slammed the door and he started to make an aggressive move towards me, yelling, you’re gonna shoot me, you’re gonna shoot me!"

Attorneys said the mistrial was declared on Tuesday because a juror was on his cell phone as the defense team was delivering their closing arguments. That same juror was spoken to earlier in the trial for falling asleep, according to attorneys.

Prosecutors objected to the mistrial, as their were no alternate jurors left. But Judge Jeffrey Gillen denied that objection.

The jury has been dismissed, and a brand new jury will have to be picked at a later date.

A status conference is scheduled for Friday, and at that hearing, a new trial date may be set.