Jury selection begins in Theodore Edgecomb trial
He is accused of killing a Milwaukee attorney, Jason Cleereman, in a road rage incident in 2020. Edgecomb argues it was self-defense.
The trial was initially slated to start Jan. 3, but was delayed two weeks after the judge tested positive for COVID-19.
Tuesday morning, before potential jurors were brought in, Edgecomb pleaded guilty to two of the three counts he faces: felony bail jumping and misdemeanor bail jumping.
Now the jury will only decide count one: first degree intentional homicide.
"By pleading guilty to those charges, it obviates the need for the state to prove them and it's less bad stuff the jury has to hear about the defendant, mainly that he wasn't supposed to possess a firearm in the first place," said legal expert Julius Kim.
At the time of the shooting, Edgecomb had two open cases. One has since been dismissed, the other is scheduled for a plea hearing next month. Now the jury won't hear about those cases.
"They [prosecutors] shouldn't be able to bring up that he had open cases pending against him at the time that this new situation popped up, because the argument is not relevant anymore," Kim said.
After the pleas, 50 potential jurors were brought in and attorneys began voir dire. However a court-run livestream captured the faces of several of them.
After the lunch break, the judge ruled jury selection would start over.
Around 3:30 p.m. a new group of 50 potential jurors were brought in and jury selection began again.
A total of 14 jurors will be selected -- 12 will deliberate, two will be alternates.
Jury selection was not finished on Tuesday and will resume Wednesday morning.
The trial will last about a week.