Herberger is on probation until May 24, 2017, following a Alford plea before Presiding Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood on Dec. 6, 2011. He was given a suspended execution of sentence on a 10-year prison term for a class B felony drug possession charge dating back to August 2009. He served a 90-day shock incarceration from July to October of 2012 as part of the plea agreement and was given five years of supervised probation.
Owensville police received a report at 1:33 p.m. April 17 that Herberger had called a friend and said “he killed his wife and that he was doing to kill himself,” according to a probable cause statement filed by Owensville patrolman Robert Green. At least 10 local, county and state law enforcement officers rushed to the scene believing there had been a homicide committed at the residence.
Herberger’s wife had actually left the home following an earlier argument between the two, said police. She returned to the neighborhood as lawmen were questioning her husband.
Herberger was charged in a warrant issued Thursday by Associate Circuit Judge John B. Berkemeyer alleging the class D felonies of knowingly burning and resisting arrest. Herberger was also charge with two class A misdemeanors alleging possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.
Police recovered two baggies of suspected marijuana which were viewed in plain sight in the suspect’s bedroom. On the man’s living room floor, police found six “used” packages of synthetic marijuana.
As first reported April 17 on The Republican’s website, Herberger told police he “threw lit cigarettes on the carpet until the carpet caught fire and then he laid down in his bed. Herberger stated that he was hoping that the fire would get going and everything would be good for him,” according to the PC statement submitted with the application for the warrant.
Deputies, highway patrolmen, city police and a conversation agent secured the scene and Owensville firemen assisted with a search of the residence.
Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) members responded to the one-level frame home in the 500 block of Plum Avenue shortly after 2 p.m. and found smoke beginning to come out of the residence. Sheriff Randy Esphorst said deputies attempted to reach the man on his home telephone. Unable to make contact with the man, Esphorst said he gave the authorization to make a forced entry.
“The SERT entry team used a fire extinguisher to put out the small fire in the living room,” said Esphorst.
The man awoke to the noise, apparently, said Esphorst, and ran out of the house after opening a sliding-glass door at the rear of the residence. Outside on the deck, he was confronted by a deputy and was ordered to the ground. According to the police request for a warrant, Herberger failed to comply with the order and is alleged to have urinated toward deputies. When he turned around to return to the house, he was dropped with a TASER fired by the deputy.
City Marshal Robert Rickerd said Thursday that Herberger on Wednesday afternoon had “changed his mind and refused to stay” at the Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla where he was taken by ambulance, under police escort, for a psychiatric evaluation. He was taken to the Crawford County Jail that afternoon and placed on a 20-hour hold pending the application of a warrant for formal charges.
Rickerd said Green’s investigation revealed that Herberger’s probation officer was notified last Wednesday afternoon of the threats he had made. The probation officer in turned called Gasconade County E-911 to relay the threat. The friend, who was not identified in the police report, told the probation officer “she could hear him chamber a round in a firearm.”
Rickerd said the only apparent firearm in the residence was a BB gun pistol. Herberger was restricted from using drugs or alcohol as terms of his probation.
Rickerd met with a representative of the Family Services Division on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Two minor children living in the residence, 11 and 13-years-old,were temporarily relocated to live with a family member until the house can be cleaned up from the fire and smoke damage.
On Herberger’s Facebook page, several posts were made about the time law enforcement officials were first notified of possible problems at the home. One post read “death is certain everyone dies.” Another read “kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill.” Two hours before lawmen were contacts, a post to his page read “Everyone must die!!!!!!”
Court records from Missouri Case.net show the Missouri Department of Revenue filed a certificate of tax lien against Herberger on Thursday. The judgement against Herberger on
an “individual income tax” was for $1,210.78. He had been scheduled for an arraignment Monday.
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