DAKOTA COUNTY, Neb. — Over the course of three hours on a chilly Monday morning, a former criminal sergeant with the Nebraska State Patrol detailed the evidence collected from the abandoned Surber farm in rural Dixon County during the murder trial for a guy of the same name.
29-year-old Andres Surber sat quietly at the defense table in a red button-down shirt and grey pants, his curly hair partially pulled back in a loose knot behind his head, chewing on a pen. Day 3 of his murder trial began minutes after 9 a.m. in Dakota County.
Murder trials are nothing like you see on primetime TV. It takes days to get through the evidence. Attorneys spend a significant amount of time detailing a witness’s credentials and expertise before getting to the meat of each person’s testimony and then going over insignificant detail each piece of evidence and how it’s collected.
Galen Svoboda, a former criminal sergeant from the Nebraska State Patrol, was the only witness the state called during the morning session. Several photographs that he and his team took on November 2nd, 2016 were shown, signifying everything from the aerial location of the farmstead down to a blood-like substance discovered in the grass next to a burn barrel on the property.
Investigators were first called to the Kubik residence off of Highway 35 near Emerson, Nebraska on that fall morning after Kraig Kubik’s then 5-year-old son told his teacher his dad was dead and there was blood outside his home. Dakota County authorities then performed a welfare check on Kubik, which eventually led them to the Surber farm on 579th Avenue in Dixon County.
It was there, inside the trunk of a silver Impala with a broken driver’s side window and flies swarming the passenger side hood and fender, that investigators made a shocking discovery.
“It ended my hopes of finding Kraig Kubik alive,” Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg told the court last Thursday after he made the horrifying discovery.
Back at the Surber farm, which authorities considered abandoned, the silver Impala was just one of a handful of junk cars parked just off of the dirt and sand driveway. Sitting perpendicular to the Impala was a rust-colored car and a red van. It was between these two vehicles that investigators found what appeared to be blood and an old kitchen knife with blood on the handle and blood streaks on a nearby bumper of a car. Just a few feet beside that, across the dirt driveway, a gas container and empty cleaning spray bottle were found in front of an old beat-up brown car.
In a later part of the investigation, two cell phones were found within the Impala. One, a Samsung device, was powered on during the investigation and showed the words “Boomer Rocks” on the screen. Boomer, Svoboda recalled, was a nickname for 41-year-old Kubik.
Investigators searched the dusty abandoned home on the property looking for any evidence. While they found gloves, knives left in the kitchen Svoboda said, didn’t match the knife found in the grass.
But, he said, “you can see where the dust had been disturbed.”
Back where the junk vehicles were parked, authorities found a 50-gallon drum that had been turned into a burn barrel. Alongside that, an area that had recently looked to have been burned.
“When I got into that immediate area and looked at that burned area there,” Svoboda said, referring to a photograph of the barrel and burned area that the State entered into evidence. “There appeared to be more than just burnt grass and leaves in that immediate burned area I believed that what I saw there was some sort of flesh and/or tissue with a reddish color on it.”
Surber sat mostly in silence during the morning session, sipping on what appeared to be coffee, occasionally sneezing and sniffling.
The Wakefield, Nebraska native is accused of shooting Kubik with a small-caliber handgun the night of November 1st and then cutting up and disposing of his body. Surber has pleaded not guilty to three charges: first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
The trial is expected to go on for several more days this week.
*No Cameras in Courtroom
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