Judge rules word 'victim' can be used in Edgecomb trial

NOW: Judge rules word ’victim’ can be used in Edgecomb trial

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The man charged with killing a Milwaukee attorney is now facing more serious charges.

On Monday, Jan. 10, the state filed an amended complaint, charging Theodore Edgecomb with first degree intentional homicide. He previously faced first degree reckless homicide. He is also charged with two bail jumping counts.

It was one of many developments in court Monday during a final pretrial hearing. The judge also ruled on several last-minute defense motions.

"We had a hearing two weeks ago and every day over the Christmas and New Year's holiday, another document came flying in," a visibly annoyed Judge David Borowski told the defense in court. "New experts, supposedly new witnesses that were found. I'm tiring of it."

Edgecomb says he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Jason Cleereman in 2020.

In court his attorneys argued the state should not be allowed to show a video taken right before the shooting. It allegedly shows Edgecomb reach into Cleereman's car, through the window, and punch Cleereman.

"There was an incident that preceded that altercation," said B'Ivory LaMarr, Edgecomb's attorney. "The video at issue tends to make it look like Mr. Edgecomb was the initial aggressor without that first video."

There is not video of the alleged first alteration LaMarr refers to.

Judge Borowski ruled the jury will see the video.

The judge also ruled he will allow testimony about how Edgecomb fled the state and tried to use a fake name when he was pulled over.

"At least the fact that he lied about his name and claimed he was from another country is relevant for this jury to understand he did not believe he was operating in self-defense," said prosecutor Grant Huebner. "He was trying to get away with it."

The judge also denied a defense motion to ban the use of the word "victim" when referring to Cleereman.

"It's a homicide, he's a victim," Judge Borowski said. "Whether he's the victim of a self-defense situation or a reckless homicide is for the jury to determine. I know where this is coming from, I read the news. This is not the Rittenhouse case."

The judge was referring to the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, another self-defense case. The judge in that case, Bruce Schroeder, did not allow the use of the word victim. That is Schroeder's long-standing policy in his courtroom. Borowski does not have the same policy.

"I know Judge Schroeder, I consider him a friend of mine," Judge Borowski said. "I have never told the state how to refer to somebody on the stand."

The trial will start Jan. 18 with jury selection. A total of 14 total jurors will be seated so there will be two alternates.

The trial is expected to last a week.

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