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Theodore Edgecomb trial: Wife of immigration attorney fatally shot testifies

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Posted at 8:55 AM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 19:44:23-05

MILWAUKEE — The third day of testimony has concluded in the trial of a man accused of shooting and killing a Milwaukee immigration attorney.

Theodore Edgecomb is the defendant in the case and is accused of killing Jason Cleereman in September of 2020 near Holton and Brady Streets. He faces one count of first-degree intentional homicide.

Cleereman's wife testified during the trial on Friday. Evanjelina Cleereman spent about two and a half hours on the witness stand.

Evanjelina testified she and her husband, Jason, were heading home from a bar that night. She was driving on Brady Street and said she swerved away from Edgecomb, who was on a bike.

"My husband shouted out the window, 'What the heck,'" Evanjelina said.

She drove a short ways forward and stopped at a red light. That's when she says Edgecomb rode up to the passenger side window, where her husband was sitting, and punched her husband. Edgecomb rode away.

"Jason said, 'Just turn the corner, I want to talk to him,'" Evanjelina said.

On the Holton Street bridge, Jason got out of the car and headed towards Edgecomb. Evanjelina said she saw Edgecomb had a gun and shouted a warning to her husband.

"All I saw was this man's eyes and the gun, and then I knew he was going to shoot my husband. I could just feel it," Evanjelina said. "And then he pulled the trigger."

Edgecomb left the scene down the stairs. Evanjelina testified she ran over to her husband. She said she put her hand on his back and took his wallet out of his back pocket.

"I wanted something to hold onto," Evanjelina said. "I couldn't hold him, so I wanted to hold his wallet."

On cross examination, defense attorneys pointed out Edgecomb rode away on his bike after the punch.

"Mr. Edgecomb never made a threat to you, did he?" asked defense attorney B'Ivory LaMarr.

"No," Evanjelina replied.

Defense attorneys questioned Evanjelina why she didn't call 911 after her husband was punched.

"Everything happened so quickly," Evanjelina responded. "I was stunned...at that time when I'm thinking all this and I'm trying to drive, my husband says, 'can you turn the corner, I want to talk to him.' And so I trusted my husband."

Prosecutors indicated Friday afternoon they plan to call four to five witnesses on Monday.

Then the defense team will present its case. They plan to call Edgecomb to the witness stand, who they say plans to claim self-defense.

On Friday afternoon, one woman on the jury panel was dismissed for a family emergency. Now 13 people — 12 plus one alternate — are hearing the case.

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