Wife who made 911 call is charged with murder
Jennifer Nibbe is accused of staging her husband's slaying in Lake Crystal. She stood to collect his $250,000 insurance policy.
A woman who frantically called 911 to report that "someone shot my husband'' in their Lake Crystal, Minn., home was charged Friday with murdering him, amid claims that she was having an affair and stood to gain $250,000 from his life insurance policy.
Jennifer Nibbe, 33, was charged Friday in Blue Earth County District Court with second-degree murder in the Aug. 31 death of James Nibbe. In a tearful, early morning 911 call, she claimed that a masked intruder killed Nibbe, attacked her and fled on foot.
When authorities arrived, they noticed a lack of footprints inside or outside the home. They also questioned how someone could break into the darkened house and load James Nibbe's shotgun without disturbing anyone, including the family's Labrador.
Charges cite journal entries by Jennifer Nibbe that chronicle her dissatisfaction with her two-year marriage, her interest in another man and how "Sometimes I wish I could go back to just [my son] and I plugging along."
The complaint describes Jennifer Nibbe, a nurse, as addicted to painkillers and deeply in debt. Just two months before he was killed with a single shotgun blast to the head, James Nibbe, 26, had taken out a $250,000 life insurance policy, naming his wife as the beneficiary.
Jennifer Nibbe was arrested Friday afternoon and remains in the Blue Earth County Jail. Her bail has not been set.
Last week, they released a partially redacted transcript of a 911 call in which Jennifer Nibbe, reportedly cowering in the basement with her 16-year-old son, Nibbe's stepson, implored police to hurry. "Please,'' she cried. "I don't know if he's coming back."
In addition to a lack of footprints, investigators noted that a rope that she claimed was tied around her lay coiled on the floor and was later moved. They questioned whether an intruder could enter the home without disturbing the family's black Labrador, Yukon, which barked loudly and excitedly during the 911 call and when police arrived.
Jennifer Nibbe denied to police that there was an extramarital affair or significant marriage problems. However, the man reportedly involved in the affair told investigators that they had exchanged nude and semi-nude photos, along with illicit text message conversations, commonly known as "sexting." Investigators found a journal that said she sent a "naughty" photo of herself to an unnamed man, and that he wanted to have sex with her.
"Can I control myself and say no? I don't think I can. I want him. I've always had feelings for him. I can't stop thinking about him and I together," she allegedly wrote.
"I do love my husband, but you can only give for so long before it wears on a person. I give and give and give and he takes and takes and takes. He can be very selfish."
Jennifer Nibbe's cousin, Kerry Erickson, told investigators that she saw Jennifer Nibbe the night before her husband was killed. Erickson said Nibbe confided that she had been unhappy with her marriage, and that other people showed Jennifer Nibbe attention, but she claimed that none of the relationships were physical.
Charges say Jennifer Nibbe was allegedly using her job to fraudulently obtain prescription pain medication costing $1,000 per month, putting her in debt. Some bills had been turned over to collection agencies.
Crime scene offered clues
When first responders reached the Nibbe farmhouse outside Lake Crystal, they found James Nibbe lying face down on his bed, his arms on each side of his head as if he were sleeping, charges said. Blankets were pulled up to his shoulders and there was a towel next to him. A shotgun was at the foot of the bed. He was pronounced dead at the scene. There were clothes strewn around the room and a jewelry box was tipped over.
Jennifer Nibbe told Blue Earth County Sheriff Brad Peterson that she was in the shower and came out of the bathroom when the suspect grabbed her and dragged her into the living room. She said he put a rope around her neck and had a knife, both of which were on the floor when police arrived. Charges say Peterson noticed that the rope was still in a circular pattern with the knife next to it. Peterson noted later that the rope appeared to have been moved. Jennifer Nibbe and her son told Peterson that the dog must have bumped it.
Jennifer Nibbe told Peterson that the suspect was wearing black with a nylon over his head. She said he told her "you're lucky you're not dead" and ran out the door.
In a second statement, Jennifer Nibbe said she was in the bathroom brushing her teeth with the door shut when she heard a loud noise and opened the door to see a man standing over James Nibbe with a shotgun. He then pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger, she said, but it did not go off. He then grabbed her. She showed a detective three cuts on her thighs, which investigators noted were not consistent with defensive wounds.
In the seized journal, Jennifer Nibbe allegedly wrote that she still loves her husband, and he still loves her.
"This is not how I wanted my life to turn out," she wrote. "I'm married to one man that I care about but in love with another man who has a girlfriend, a baby on the way but still tells me he loves me."