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Theodore Edgecomb trial postponed; charged in shooting death of immigration attorney

Posted at 9:12 AM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 10:15:38-05

MILWAUKEE — The trial of Theodore Edgecomb, the man accused of shooting and killing a Milwaukee immigration attorney last year, has been postponed. The jury trial was set to begin on Monday.

Court officials confirmed the change to TMJ4 News Monday morning. No new date for the trial has been given so far.

Edgecomb plans to claim self-defense at the trial.

Thirty-one-year-old Theodore Edgecomb faces a first-degree reckless homicide charge in the shooting death of 54-year-old Jason Cleereman in September 2020.

Edgecomb is being held on a $250,000 cash bond. His attorneys indicated he may take the stand to testify.

Family, friends, activists and attorneys spoke in front of a crowd early last month.

"This is a clear case of self-defense, and we look forward to and maintain confidence in our judicial system to establish the same," Edgecomb's attorney B'Ivory LaMarr said.

"My son is a very humble person and anybody that knows him knows this is not his character," said Edgecomb's mother, Sonya Gordon.

According to the criminal complaint, Edgecomb was riding a bike when he came upon 54-year-old Cleereman and his wife in their car near Humboldt and Brady Streets. Prosecutors believe that's when there was some sort of altercation, and say Edgecomb punched Cleereman.

Edgecomb's attorneys say new surveillance video shows the Cleeremans followed Edgecomb onto the Holton Street bridge, and say the video shows Cleereman got out of the car and approached Edgecomb in the moments before the shooting.

The Cleereman family issued a statement in response to the claim of self-defense.

"Mr. Edgecomb did not act in self-defense, and this is not a close case," the Cleereman family wrote in a statement.

The Cleereman family writes, "Jason Cleereman committed his life and practice of law to equal justice under the law. For his wife, family and many friends to be forced to respond to disgraceful and outright lies that he was threatening or used racist language—when anyone who ever met Jason would laugh at the very idea of that —is beyond offensive."

Cleereman was an immigration attorney, and several Milwaukee Alders wrote a statement at the time of his death acknowledging his work in the community.

Months after the shooting, police arrested Edgecomb in Kentucky.

Edgecomb's attorneys are trying to retain Dr. John Black, the same self-defense expert Kyle Rittenhouse's attorneys used at trial.

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