Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley on Thursday denied pretrial release for former county sheriff’s deputy Carlton Nebergall Jr. in his first-degree murder case.
Nebergall is accused of fatally shooting Jacob Lodge, his estranged son-in-law, on Feb. 18 outside Nebergall’s home in The Acreage.
According to investigators, Lodge, 36, had met with his estranged wife, Katrina Nebergall, that evening to exchange clothes for their children. She was living with her father and children at the home. Nebergall confronted Lodge outside the home and shot him as he tried to leave, according to a PBSO report. Nebergall left the scene but eventually was found and arrested. A .38-caliber chrome revolver was found under a palm tree, investigators said.
Kelley said that with the facts of the case, he did “not feel comfortable granting bond.”
In court, defense attorney Michael Salnick had four witnesses, including Nebergall’s nephew and sister, speak to the judge on Nebergall’s behalf. They all mentioned his strained relationship with Lodge, who was arrested for allegedly stealing jewelry from Nebergall’s home years before, and the man’s on-again, off-again relationship with his daughter.
The witnesses said Nebergall always took care of his family and was a good man. Several letters from other family members and friends, as well as Lodge’s previous criminal history, also were provided to the court.
Adding that Nebergall had spent 30-plus years in law enforcement, Salnick asked Kelley to release him on house arrest as he awaited trial.
“What happened was sad and unfortunate, but I don’t think it was first-degree murder,” Salnick told the judge.
Assistant State Attorney Lauren Godden said the prosecution was concerned about Nebergall possibly fleeing before trial and what she called his excessive alcohol use. Though there was no blood-alcohol test mentioned in the arrest report, Katrina Nebergall told investigators her father was "belligerent, screaming expletives" at Lodge prior to the shooting.
Godden asked the defense’s witnesses about Nebergall’s history of excessive drinking, and they agreed that he did drink.
On the day of the fatal shooting, Nebergall fled his home and at one point attempted to hide under a car, allegedly to avoid apprehension. Godden said Lodge did not have a weapon at the time of the incident, or anything in his hands that could be mistaken for a weapon, and that Nebergall was the only person making threats before the shooting.
“I understand that he was a prior law-enforcement officer. I don’t think that means he should get the benefit of receiving a bond on a first-degree murder charge,” Godden said.
Salnick told the judge that during the course of the trial, it will come out that Nebergall had called him when he left the scene and that Salnick told Nebergall to go to a quiet area so they could talk.
Nebergall has been in the Palm Beach County Jail without bail since Feb. 19.
Carlton Nebergall Jr. is the father of deputy Jason Nebergall who was found guilty by a jury this month of attempted rape and battery. Jason Nebergall, who is also represented by Salnick, is set to be sentenced on Aug. 1, according to court records.