MILWAUKEE (NewsNation Now) — A bicyclist accused of shooting and killing a man during a road rage incident took the stand Tuesday claiming self-defense, but an attorney on “Dan Abrams Live” says he may have created more confusion about the case.
“I heard some someone yelling out at this point, ‘I’m gonna kill you,'” Theodore Edgecomb said on the stand.
Edgecomb, who is Black, is on trial for the fatal shooting of 54-year-old Jason Cleereman, an immigration attorney who is white.
“I just think he left the jury maybe with more questions than answers and that’s problematic,” Law and Crime Network anchor Jesse Weber said on “Dan Abrams Live.”
The road rage incident took place in Milwaukee on Sept. 22, 2020. There were three run-ins between the defendant and Cleereman, with some caught on camera.
In the first one, Cleereman’s wife, who was driving, swerved to avoid Edgecombe on his bicycle.
In the second, the defendant gets next to the couple’s car and punches Cleereman hard in the face, knocking off his glasses.
Then, the third is the moment of the fatal shooting. The Cleeremans pull over right next to Edgecombe. Jason Cleereman gets out of the car and approaches Edgecombe. He’s then shot dead.
“I didn’t have any intent,” Edgecombe said. “This gentleman actually took one large step and lunged toward me like he was going to tackle me and I took a step back. And as I stepped back, it was … the reaction from that the firearm just went off.”
Weber believes these comments will confuse the jury.
“Because how do you have your attorney say this is self defense, and then the defendant comes on the stand and says this was just merely an accident, he didn’t intend to kill or harm anyone?” Weber asked.
Edgecombe claims Cleereman yelled a racial slur and threatened to kill him while lunging toward him with a knife in his hand. Cleereman’s wife, who is not white, has testified that no racial slurs were uttered.
“I think he’s really focusing on the word intent, because he’s charged with first degree intentional homicide,” Weber said.
If convicted, Edgecombe faces the possibility of life behind bars.
“This is a case then where I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s ultimately convicted of something less, like reckless homicide, or a second degree intentional homicide charge,” Weber said.
Following the shooting, Edgecombe, 31, fled the scene and even the state. He was eventually tracked down and arrested by authorities six months later in Kentucky.
“Dan Abrams Live” strives to hold news shows and members of the media accountable. Abrams believes this trial is not getting national attention because of race.