Theodore Edgecomb Sentenced for Killing Jason Cleereman
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Theodore Edgecomb Sentenced for Killing Immigration Attorney in Milwaukee Road Rage Shooting

 

 

A man who fatally shot an immigration attorney in a road rage incident has been sentenced to prison. Jurors in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, convicted Theodore Malcolm Edgecomb, 32, back in January on a lesser charge of reckless homicide for killing Jason Cleereman, 54. He was originally prosecuted for first-degree intentional homicide.

Judge David Borowski handed down a punishment of 25 years in prison and 12 years of extended supervision for the reckless homicide charge.

Edgecomb had pleaded guilty to related bail jumping charges before trial because he had a gun when he wasn’t supposed to, facing unrelated cases for felony domestic battery and first-offense drunken driving with injuries. For felony bail jumping, Borowski handed down a concurrent sentence for two years each of prison and extended supervision. On a count of misdemeanor bail jumping, Edgecomb has a concurrent sentence of six months behind bars.

He will get time served, to be determined.

Cleereman was riding in the passenger seat as his wife drove in Milwaukee on Sept. 22, 2020.

Jason’s wife Evanjelina Cleereman testified that she almost got into a crash with with a bicyclist–Edgecomb. She said that Edgecomb suddenly came into their lane, forcing her to swerve to avoid a crash.

“What the heck?” Jason yelled in this account.

She said that Edgecomb, a stranger, approached their car while they were stopped.

“Were you talking to me?” he said, in her version of events.

“Yes,” Jason is said to have replied.

Edgecomb punched him.

Evanjelina denied under cross-examination that her husband told her to follow the bicyclist, saying instead that her husband asked her to turn the corner because he wanted to talk to the stranger. She testified that she followed her husband in the car once he stepped out of the vehicle because she wanted to be with him. She said she saw that the bicyclist had a gun, and she shouted that to her husband, but he did not hear her. Watching Edgecomb’s eyes, she knew he was going to shoot her husband, she said.

“I could just feel it,” she said.

And that’s what happened.

At sentencing, Edgecomb repeated his claim at trial that he acted in self-defense and that Cleereman’s car hit him.

“I never intended to kill Mr. Cleereman, but I have realized I have killed another human being, and that weighs heavily on me to this day and will continue to for the rest of my life,” he said in a statement read by his attorney.

This is how he described the actual shooting back at trial.

“I took a step back,” he said, “and as I step back, it was the reaction from that, the firearm just went off.”

Edgecomb, who is Black, continued to maintain at sentencing that Cleereman, who is white, called him the n-word.

The late attorney’s loved ones have repeatedly rubbished the slur allegation, maintaining that he worked with people of different backgrounds and loved learning about their cultures.

Evanjelina denied at trial that her husband used the n-word. At sentencing, she maintained that Edgecomb killed Jason on purpose.

“You don’t shoot someone and pretend you didn’t know it would kill them,” she said.

Edgecomb asked for mercy from the court, asked that Cleereman’s family one day forgive him, and expressed an apology to his own family “for the mistakes that I have made.”

Evanjelina showed no signs of forgiveness in her victim impact statement.

“The physical and mental pain I suffer, and I will continue to suffer seeing my husband killed, is my new reality,” she said. “It will be part of my past and my future memories. It is part of my daily life. I didn’t get a phone call that told me that my husband was killed. I saw it myself. I will forever have the images in my head. They will be ingrained in my memory and they will be replayed in my head over and over for the rest of my life.”

[Screenshot via WISN]

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