DADE CITY — Justin Lee Naber told his ex-wife they didn't need to worry about their roommate Charles Haag anymore.
What they did have to worry about, though, was the mess Naber left behind. They had to buy cleaning supplies, he told his wife Mysti Dickerson, according to her testimony. They had to move his body.
She helped him, she said, because she was scared.
"The same thing's going to happen to you if you don't help me clean up," she said he told her.
Authorities say Naber stabbed Haag, 32, five times, wrapped his body in a blue tarp and dumped it in a ravine off of St. Joe Road in December 2011. About a month later, Dickerson called police. Authorities found the body and charged Naber, now 27, with second-degree murder.
Dickerson was also worried she'd be charged, she said. That's why she waited.
Naber's attorney, Geoffrey Cox, told jurors that Naber acted in self-defense.
"Naber will tell you Charles Haag attacked him with a knife and he had no choice but to defend himself," Cox said in his opening statement Tuesday. "He had a very deep laceration, a defensive wound on his hand."
Justin Naber was later picked up in South Florida. Prosecutors say he left the area to get away from the scene of the crime. They say he admitted to killing Haag in recordings and made statements including, "He got whacked," "I killed him," and "I stabbed him with a knife."
An argument started because Haag stole $300 from Naber and Dickerson when they all lived together in a trailer on Fort King Road. They needed the money to help pay rent, Dickerson said, and Haag disappeared. He showed up early one morning, intoxicated and not acting like himself. Dickerson said she called police, but they told her they couldn't remove Haag because he lived there. Haag always carried a knife with him, Dickerson said.
Later that day, Naber and Haag were alone in the house. They argued about the money, Cox said, and it turned physical.
Naber got the first wound, Cox said. Then he stabbed Haag in the throat, but Haag kept coming. Naber kept stabbing. He hit Haag in the chest, stomach, arm and wrist, something prosecutors pointed to as especially violent. In a few seconds, Haag was on the floor bleeding out.
"After that he did the exact wrong thing," Cox said. Naber and Dickerson cleaned, wrapped the body and dumped it.
Cox asked Dickerson why she kept in contact with Naber after such a terrifying ordeal. She said she was worried he would hurt her family. Cox asked why she wrote him letters when he was in prison.
"I wrote him when I got pregnant," she said. "He's the one that's given me good advice … Well, except for this time."