BRIDGETON— Michael Duberson said little on Friday during his first appearance in Superior Court since being arrested in the slaying of an elderly Commercial Township man last weekend.
The disheveled 40-year-old Millville resident appeared confused, answering Superior Court Judge Robert Malestein’s questions with mumbled answers or just the nod of his head.
But Duberson’s five-minute appearance in the slaying of 85-year-old Eugene Tabinowski had its effect on some people in the third-floor courtroom at the Cumberland County courthouse.
Someone called out “scumball” as sheriff’s officers began to lead Duberson out of the courtroom.
Tabinowski’s son, Eugene, quickly rose from the seat where he watched the proceedings and sped from the courtroom. Members of the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, including a representative from the agency’s Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy, walked the distraught Kentucky resident to a small meeting room.
Authorities said Duberson stabbed Tabinowski on March 21 inside the victim’s home in the 200 block of Spring Road in the Laurel Lake section of Commercial Township. Tabinowski, who described his assailant to State Police despite wounds to his head, neck and face, died about 24 hours later at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
Duberson is charged with murder, aggravated assault and various weapons offenses. He is being held in the Cumberland County jail on $750,000 bail. Malestein on Friday let that bail figure stand pending any future bail hearings.
Tabinowski’s son and State Police both said Duberson did work around Tabinowski’s house for some time. Eugene Tabinowski said he knew of no problems between Duberson and his father.
Duberson has a criminal record. He was arrested twice on burglary charges in 2009 and served 345 days in the Cumberland County jail, here, according to Superior Court records.
The elder Tabinowski’s death was one of two slayings in the rural municipality last weekend.
State Police said Benjamin Broughton, 29, was found lying on the front yard of his Main Street, Port Norris, home on Saturday. Broughton, who was shot in the eye, was pronounced dead shortly after 2 p.m. at Inspira Medical Center Vineland.
State Police and Broughton family members and friends said the shooting stemmed from an apparent domestic dispute involving Broughton’s girlfriend, the mother of Broughton’s child, and an unidentified person.
State Police said they have not made arrests in the killing, although they do have a suspect.
Contact Thomas Barlas: