DAKOTA COUNTY, Neb. — 8:30 p.m.: Shortly after 8 p.m., after more than 3 hours of deliberations, a Dakota County jury has found 29-year-old Andres Surber guilty of murder in the 1st degree. He was also found guilty of two other felony charges of use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Kubik's family, some who have been here each day, silently cried as the verdict was read.
The jury of 2 women and 10 men deliberated for roughly 3 and a half hours, after six days of trial and testimony, ending a long day of court proceedings in Dakota City, Nebraska.
Surber will be officially sentenced on November 6th.
Read the full story of the days closing arguments below.
5:30 p.m. UPDATE: "This has been compared to a movie. This is the end of the movie. You've seen all the evidence. Though you've seen one big plot twist, it shouldn't alter how you view the evidence.”
A red Dodge Charger was the center of the case against Andres Surber. After a week of testimony, his fate and future are in the hands of a jury.
29-year-old Surber faces three felony charges, including 1st-degree murder, in the death of Kraig Kubik on November 1st, 2016.
Dressed in a blue shirt and dark pants, Surber spent the day seated at the defense table, occasionally muttering to himself, a far cry from Wednesday where he took the witness stand in his own defense.
Throughout closing testimony Thursday, both the state and Surber’s defense recalled and referenced his testimony, with Surber’s attorney, Todd Lancaster, calling for a mistrial as soon as court was called into session, claiming that statements made by Surber at the time of his arrest and to which was referenced on the stand, are not admissible in court following an April 2019 ruling by a different judge.
Judge Meismer denied a mistrial.
Over a period of six days, the jury heard over a dozen witnesses and will now have more than 100 pieces of evidence to consider as they determine the fate of Surber. He faces life in prison with a 1st-degree murder conviction. The jury, though, can also find him guilty of 2nd-degree murder or manslaughter, which carries at least 20 years behind bars.
Both Lancaster and O’Brien asked the jury to use their common sense when deciding on a verdict.
“Ladies and gentlemen don’t abandon your common sense and evaluate the reasonableness of his statement when deciding if he truly acted in self-defense as he claimed,” O’Brien told the jury.
“There are a lot of things in this case that we just can’t explain,” Lancaster countered. “Not everything makes sense. People don’t always act in a rational manner.”
Surber is not disputing that he shot and killed Kubik that night, nor that he disposed of his body in a Dixon County culvert, Lancaster said, telling the jury his client’s plan to dispose of Mr. Kubik’s body was poorly done and “amateurish” Kubik’s right arm and right leg were found in the trunk of a silver Chevy Impala parked at the abandoned Surber Farm.
Surber is claiming self-defense.
“If the plan was to kill Mr. Kubik, dispose of his body and get away with it, the evidence at the scene doesn’t make sense”, Lancaster said, saying that the case is both complicated and not. “It’s not complicated in who did it. it’s complicated in what was the intent behind it.”
Kubik, seen on surveillance video coming out of his home off of Highway 35 near Emerson, Nebraska around 10:40 the night of November 1st with Surber and Bryan Galvan-Hernandez, died from a gunshot wound behind his left ear. The pair allegedly went to the home to air up a tire on a red Dodge Charger Surber had sold to Kubik and was attempting to repossess.
Surber claims Kubik pulled the gun on him and he wrestled it from him and fired a shot, claiming to not know it hit Kubik right away. He and Galvan-Hernandez, who pleaded guilty to his charges in 2017, then left Kubik, went to get the Impala, where they claim they tried to take Kubik to the hospital, but he was dead. So they went to the abandoned Surber farm. Kubik’s right arm and right leg were found in the trunk of the Impala at the farm.
"The state would suggest to you this is not a murder in self-defense,” O’Brien stated. “This has the hallmarks of premeditated murder, almost the execution of Kraig Kubik. You know what facts credible and what facts are not. And you know the right verdict.”
“What’s at issue here is the why and the how. Not the who,” Lancaster concluded. “Take all the facts, not just the trailer, not just the cover of the book, and make your case.”
Surber has pleaded not guilty to the 1st-degree murder charge, along with two other felony charges of use of a firearm to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
If the 2 women and 10 men on Surber’s jury do not come to a verdict by 9 p.m. Thursday, they will be sequestered until 9 a.m. Friday where they will begin once again.
*No Camera in Courtroom
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