Theodore Edgecomb testifies at his homicide trial Tuesday, displaying how he said he informed Jason Cleereman to cease advancing in the direction of him.
Theodore Edgecomb informed jurors all by way of his homicide trial Tuesday he Did not imply to shoot immigration lawyer Jason Cleereman and that his gun “simply went off” all by way of their confrontation.
Edgecomb said he’d been making an try To flee from Cleereman and his spouse, who he testified had hit him Collectively with her car as he rode his bike A pair of minutes earlier on Brady Road. He additionally testified he thought they tried to deliberately run him dpersonal a second time.
Edgecomb, 32, has enhanced self-protection to a cost of first-diploma intentional homicide in Cleereman’s Sept. 22 capturing demise. However his personal testimony that he Did not intfinish to shoot made the prosecutor question whether or not the jury ought to even hear the instruction about self-protection, As a Outcome of the privilege applies to somebody who deliberately makes use of strain when he truthfully fears demise or good bodily harm.
Decide David Borowski agreed he was very surprised by Edgecomb’s testimony, but after his legal professionals argued that enough proof of self-protection was enhanced, the judge said he was inclined To current the instruction earlier than the jury will get the case Wednesday.
Edgecomb started his roughly three hours of testimony Tuesday with an account of his first encounter with the couple that differed dramatically from that provided by Evangelina Cleereman. She testified final week Edgecomb darted out into Brady on his bike, inflicting her to swerve.
Theodore Edgecomb testifies in Milwaukee courtroom on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 all by way of his trial for The primary diploma intentional homicide Inside the Sept. 22, 2020 capturing of Jason Cleereman, 54, on the Holton Road bridge. He was replying questions from the prosecution.
Edgecomb informed jurors he was driving westbound on Brady when he heard a horn blare and seemed again to see the Cleeremans’ Kia Soul coming at him. He said he was struck and knocked onto a parked automotive. He said the horn was truly from an eastbound automotive the Kia had shut toly hit earlier than swerving again into his lane.
Edgecomb recalled somebody Inside the car hurling a racial slur laced with profanity at him.
Extra: Immigration lawyer’s widow testifies at homicide trial of bike owner who shot husband shut to Brady Road
“I might have been killed,” he said. “Then they insulted me. In my thoughts, I am considering maybe they’re drunk. It was The one set off I might Think about For somebody throwing out an insult.”
Edgecomb wasn’t harm, so he rode exhausting after the Kia And located it ceaseped for The sunshine at Holton Road.
Jurors have been repeatedly proven surveillance video of Edgecomb leaning into the passenger window, asking if Jason Cleereman had been talking to him. The footage additionally reveals Edgecomb punching Cleereman Inside the face when Cleereman responds.
After that, Edgecomb testified, “I simply needed to be carried out with the altercation altogether,” and rode off Throughout the nook onto the bridge.
Issues Did not finish there.
Edgecomb testified he heard the Kia velocity up and squeal its tires and that he noticed it dashing in the direction of him. So he jumped the curb onto the sidewalk.
“Fear overcame me,” he said. “That they had no remorse The primary time, and now they have been deliberately and deliberately making an try to hit me.”
Edgecomb said he headed in the direction of a set of stairs that led from the bridge. His hope was the automotive Wouldn’t Adjust to him that far. He then noticed Cleereman strolling shortly in the direction of him. Cleereman, Edgecomb testified, Appeared to be automotiverying one factor in his hand and said “I am going to kill you now, (N-phrase).”
Extra: Self-protection cleared Kyle Rittenhouse; will it work for a Black man who shot a white lawyer?
He said he Thought-about leaping the railing, However the drop was too far. He said he considered taking The steps but Did not Want to level out his again to Cleereman. So he pulled his gun and held it at his waist. He put up his completely different hand and said “cease.” He said he heard Evangelina Cleereman yell, “He is acquired a gun.”
Jason Cleereman Did not cease; Edgecomb said the immigration lawyer lunged, like he was about to deal with him or seize his weapon. Edgecomb said he pulled again and the gun fired. Cleereman was hit Inside the face and died On the scene.
“I used to be undoubtedly defending myself,” Edgecomb said.
A great portion of his direct examination then focused on why Edgecomb fled the state and reprimaryed a fugitive till he was arrested after a visitors cease in Kentucky six months later.
Edgecomb said he feared Nobody would consider his story and thOn the simplyice system would not be truthful to a Black man who had shot a white lawyer.
He said he spent a lot of his time on the lam making an try to contact household To assist him enhance money for legal professionals. He said he threw the gun, which he said belonged to his fiancée, out the window someplace in Illinois or Indiana as he drove south after the capturing.
“I Did not Want to be caught with it And currents police or anyone set off to kill me and say I used to be armed,” he said.
Edgecomb additionally admitted to altering his look whereas he was needed and giving the pretfinish identify Agoo Newman to the Kentucky state trooper who ceaseped him. He said On the time he did so beset off he hadn’t but secured legal professionals for his plan To surrfinisher voluntarily.
“I by no implys implyt To harm, harm or finishanger anyone,” he said. “It was a tragedy. I simply want It’d by no implys have transpired.”
Before Getting into the meat of his testimony, Edgecomb said he has 5 youngsters, studied psychology in school, but reprimarys A pair of credit In need of a bachelor’s diploma. He labored for a Waukesha transformer manufacturing unit earlier than the pandemic And commenced a nonprofit mentoring group.
Borowski denied protection lawyer B’Ivory LaMarr’s request to introduce photographs of Edgecomb Collectively with his youngsters.
Edgecomb was calm and deliberate on direct examination, but on cross started out making an try To answer virtually every question with the response, “I reacted To shield myself from being harmed,” and Borowski warned him To answer questions, not make speeches.
Assistant District Attorney Grant Huebner questioned Edgecomb repeatedly about his declare to have thrpersonal the gun in some water shut to the Indiana border, when he might have acquiredten rid of it in Milwaukee.
“You ditched the gun Beset off you knew it might tie you to the homicide, right?” Huebner requested. Edgecomb requested him To elucidate “ditched,” earlier than finally replying the question.
On redirect, Edgecomb declareed to have found about “imminent threats” all by way of packages for hid automotivery and whereas working for a safety agency alongside federal brokers checking docks.
Huebner then requested if he’d had teaching in capturing firearms. Edgecomb said sure. “They typically tevery you The biggest Method to hit your goal, proper?” the prosecutor requested, earlier than ending his questioning.
The jury will hear closing arguments on Wednesday morning After which start deliberations.
Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.
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This textual content material initially appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bibike owner says gun ‘went off’ when he shot lawyer on Milwaukee bridge