— A judge has ordered Jennifer Nibbe’s father to turn over several items he took from his daughter’s house after she was arrested for shooting and killing her husband, James Nibbe.
Patrick Casey, the attorney representing James Nibbe’s family, said the items the family wants have more of a sentimental value than a monetary value and they can’t understand why Dan Gilman is keeping it.
The family is concerned some of the items were lost or destroyed after Gilman took them from the house where Jennifer and James Nibbe were living in rural Lake Crystal.
Leslie Johnson, James Nibbe’s sister, and other family members asked to have the items turned over after Jennifer Nibbe’s arrest in September 2010, but Gilman said doing that would imply Jennifer Nibbe was guilty of killing her husband.
After Nibbe pleaded guilty to the murder in June and was sentenced to 25 years in prison on July, a judge issued an order allowing James Nibbe’s family to retrieve a list of items from Gilman’s house.
Some of the items were recovered. Many were not.
“These things are of a sentimental value to the family,” Casey said. “It’s very difficult to put a monetary value on this. If he’s sold them, destroyed them, scrap ironed them, just tell us.
“It’s been stonewall game. They don’t want to get embroiled in a huge lawsuit over James’ stuff.”
A list of 30 items was attached to the order issued Thursday by Blue Earth County District Court Judge Krista Jass.
Those items include an end table with a mounted albino grouse that was shot by James Nibbe, pottery items he made in high school, his watch, his high school class ring, afghans and quilts made by his grandmother, and woodworking tools.
Another item on the list, which was brought up by James Nibbe’s family during Jennifer Nibbe’s sentencing hearing, is the guest book from his funeral. Gilman had told the family he was going to give the book to James Nibbe’s mother, Karen Nibbe.
“Now he’s saying he doesn’t have it,” Casey said.
Other items on the list would have little value to anyone outside the family, including yard games James Nibbe made and old bills, bank statements and tax returns.
Some of the items the family had requested early on, such as several hunting rifles and shotguns, had been taken as evidence by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Those items will be returned once Jennifer Nibbe’s time limit for an appeal has expired.
Gilman’s attorney, Andrew Tatge, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Thursday.