DADE CITY — A man who fatally stabbed his roommate in a dispute over rent money was sentenced to life in prison Thursday after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder.
Jurors deliberated for about seven hours over two days before convicting Justin Lee Naber, 27, in the December 2011 killing of Charles Haag, who was stabbed five times.
Naber, who did not testify during the three-day trial but gave a statement to Pasco sheriff's detectives, said Haag stole $300 intended for rent money and "went on a drug binge." He said he confronted Haag when he returned to their mobile home off Fort King Road and said Haag attacked him with a knife he always carried.
But prosecutors pointed out that a single wound to Naber's finger was minor as well as the fact that he changed his story while talking to detectives. Naber's ex-wife testified that he threatened her and made her help him scrub down the crime scene, wrap the body in a tarp and dump it into a 150-foot ravine. Authorities also recovered a kitchen knife and a butcher knife in a backpack.
Naber, whose previous record included grand theft, faced a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the murder. He also pleaded guilty to destroying a jail fire extinguisher. Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa sentenced him to time served on that charge.
Naber is now awaiting extradition to New Mexico, where he is wanted in connection with the 2005 stabbing of 73-year-old Jose Gonzalez, who was found dead in his Albuquerque home.