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Bicyclist Testifies His ‘Firearm Just Went Off’ When He Shot Immigration Attorney That He Claimed Called Him N-Word



The man who killed an immigration attorney testified Tuesday that he did not mean to shoot the man. Defendant Theodore Malcolm Edgecomb, 32, who is Black, painted Jason Cleereman, who was white, as the aggressor in a Sept. 22, 2020 road rage incident in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He asserted the alleged victim repeatedly called him N-word, threatened to kill him, and lunged at him as if to tackle.

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

The main thing that both sides agree on is that Cleereman was a passenger in the car as his wife Evanjelina Cleereman was driving when they encountered Edgecomb, who was a stranger on a bicycle.

In Edgecomb’s version of events, he claimed that the couple’s vehicle clipped his pedal, leg and handlebar. Cleereman called him the N-word and told him to “get the fuck out of the road.” Edgecomb said he managed to catch up to that vehicle, and asked if they were talking to him.

“Yes, n****r,” Cleereman allegedly said. Edgecomb admitted to punching him at this point.

Cleereman’s family has staunchly denied the racism claim, saying he was a beloved immigration attorney who enjoyed working with people of different backgrounds. Wife Evanjelina Cleereman denied on the stand Friday that her husband used that anti-Black slur. She said that it was Edgecomb who started it all by suddenly coming into their lane, so that she had to swerve to avoid him.

“What the heck?” Jason yelled, according to this version of what was said.

The bicyclist caught up to them, asked if they were talking to him, and when Jason Cleereman said yes (without the N-word), Edgecomb punched him so hard his glasses flew across the car. This runs parallel to Edgecomb’s story, with the differences being: who started the traffic dispute; what Jason precisely said; and who instigated everything to punching and worse.

Evanjelina denied that her husband told her to chase Edgecomb but acknowledged he told her to turn so he could talk to this bicyclist.

Edgecomb said they were chasing him, making him fear for his life.

Prosecutor Grant Huebner challenged the defendant on fleeing the state and dumping the gun in Indiana. Edgecomb insisted he did not go to law enforcement after killing Cleereman because he feared he would be treated unfairly, even killed, on account of his race. It is why, for example, he gave investigators an alias on encountering them, he said in direct examination.

Edgecomb, who pleaded guilty before trial to bail jumping charges, admitted on the stand that he should not have had a gun on him because of pending, unrelated criminal cases at the time for felony domestic battery and first-offense drunken driving with injuries.



[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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