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At murder trial, Dunedin man says he fell on roommate by accident

A deputy moves Neils Larsen to the witness stand Wednesday. Larsen said he didn’t report his roommate’s death because he “was scared to death.”

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

A deputy moves Neils Larsen to the witness stand Wednesday. Larsen said he didn’t report his roommate’s death because he “was scared to death.”

LARGO — Neils C. Larsen III took the stand Wednesday in the second day of his second-degree murder trial at the Pinellas criminal courts complex in Largo.

Larsen testified that he pushed his roommate Barbara Hebert to the floor, then accidentally fell on her. He said this was after she hit him with her cane during an argument in September 2008 at the home they shared at 1222 Orange Ave. in Dunedin.

"I feel sorry for Barbara Hebert's death, but she was not a good person at all," he told the jury. Larsen said he left her body on the kitchen floor and did not call authorities because he "was scared to death."

Hebert's body was discovered by Pinellas deputies early on the morning of Sept. 13, 2008, after an eight-hour standoff that began when Larsen's friend called authorities and asked them to check on him.

The 57-year-old, who has been in the Pinellas County Jail since his arrest that day, said he took prescription pain and anxiety pills and drank liquor after Hebert died and "passed out."

He admitted contemplating suicide, saying, "I was going to hang myself, but I couldn't do that."

Larsen's public defenders have said that their client was acting in self-defense. But prosecutors say Hebert's injuries — 13 fractured ribs and a fractured sternum — aren't consistent with Larsen's version of events.

His trial is scheduled to resume today.

At murder trial, Dunedin man says he fell on roommate by accident 04/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:11pm]
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