NewsLocal News


Legal analyst: Putting Edgecomb on witness stand in own defense may have backfired

Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 10:37:54-05

MILWAUKEE — As Theodore Edgecomb took the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday, legal experts believe he may have done more damage than good for his case.

Edgecomb told the court when he raised his gun at Jason Cleereman “the firearm just went off," making the incident seem more like an accident than self-defense as he has claimed all along.

Defense Attorney and TMJ4 News Legal Analyst Jonathan Lavoy says the testimony may not have hit the mark attorneys would have liked.

“In a self defense claim, you have to indicate that you had no choice, that you had to use the force, that you had to do what you had to do, because you feared for your safety, you feared for your life, and he didn’t really say those things.”

Because Edgecomb didn’t say he used deadly force in self-defense, it could change the instructions the jury is given.

The state could ask the judge to take self-defense off the table for the jury. The judge hasn’t heard arguments on that or made a ruling, but he clearly was aware of the possibility after Edgecomb’s testimony.

Judge David Borowski told attorneys, “I was surprised by that testimony based on what was said in opening statements. The defendant testified that the gun just went off, gentlemen how is that self defense?”

Jury instructions are expected to be given Wednesday before closing arguments, but arguments on the instructions from both sides are likely. Then the case will be in the jury’s hands.

Milwaukee immigration attorney Jason Cleereman, 54, was killed in September of 2020 near the Holton Street Bridge and Brady street in Milwaukee.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip