Jury finds Theodore Edgecomb guilty in killing of Milwaukee attorney

NOW: Jury finds Theodore Edgecomb guilty in killing of Milwaukee attorney

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After a week of testimony, a jury found Theodore Edgecomb guilty of first degree reckless homicide.

Edgecomb was charged with first degree intentional homicide in the murder of Milwaukee attorney Jason Cleereman, but the jury found him guilty of a lesser charge.

The jury began deliberations around 1:45 Wednesday afternoon and reached a verdict by 4:20. 

The courtroom was silent and Edgecomb showed no emotion as the guilty verdict was read.

The jury reached their decision shortly after asking to re-watch a video of the fatal encounter. The judge allowed them to view it once in the courtroom. They returned to the jury room around 3:45 pm.

The video shows the Cleereman car, driven by Jason Cleereman's wife, follow Edgecomb. Jason Cleereman gets out, walks towards Edgecomb and is shot.

The defense maintained the video showed the Cleeremans ran Edgecomb off the road and then Jason Cleereman got out and chased him.

"Miss Cleereman's testimony says it was her husband who advanced toward Mr. Edgecomb," said defense attorney B'Ivory LaMarr during closing arugments. "That's why self-defense is at play."

Prosecutors disagreed, arguing the video shows Cleereman, who had just been punched by Edgecomb, walk up to Edgecomb and almost immediately get shot in the face.

"When Jason, the victim, gets there, he has nothing in his hand," said prosecutor Grant Huebner during closing arguments. "Nothing. No weapon. Every portion and escalation of violence came from the defendant."

The jury agreed.

Edgecomb faces up to 60 years in prison for the homicide conviction and up to six years and nine months for two bail jumping charges he plead guilty to before the trial started. He will be sentenced April 8.

Attorneys for both sides declined to comment after the verdict.

Edgecomb's family left in tears, also declining to comment.

Attorney Craig Mastantuono, a spokesman for the Cleereman family, sent the following statement:

"The Cleereman Family, wife Evangeline and children Amelia and Jack, thank the jury for their service and verdict, and the police and prosecutors who worked very hard to solve this case. They continue to mourn the loss of their dear husband and father, Jason Cleereman, and ask that their privacy be respected, comforted in the knowledge that justice has been served."
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