Not guilty plea in murder of attorney killed in road rage shooting

The man accused of fatally shooting Jason Cleereman, a prominent Milwaukee immigration attorney, pleaded not guilty Tuesday, April 6.

Prosecutors say the shooting was the result of road rage and detectives used surveillance to piece this case together.

Cleereman's wife, who was driving their car, provided police the story of what happened, how she had to swerve out of the way to avoid a bicyclist headed right toward her. A detective on the stand Tuesday said several surveillance cameras backed up her story, which would end with her husband's death.

Theodore Edgecomb

As he watched over Zoom from the Milwaukee County Jail, prosecutors outlined their case against Theodore Edgecomb, the man they say shot and killed Jason Cleereman on the Holton Street Bridge on Sept. 22.

On the stand, MPD Detective Tyler Kirkvold said this began as an argument on the road. Cleereman's wife, driving the couple west on Brady, swerved to avoid Edgecomb, who was riding his bicycle toward her.

"Mr. Cleereman yelled out, 'What the heck?' to the suspect on the bicycle," said Kirkvold.

Jason Cleereman

Jason Cleereman

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Kirkvold said the two parties then met at a stoplight, and once Cleereman confirmed he was yelling at Edgecomb, the suspect punched Cleereman through the car window. Police say Cleereman then directed his wife to follow Edgecomb, who'd turned north onto Holton Street. Cleereman's wife told police that when he got out of the car, she saw the suspect had a gun and tried yelling to inform Cleereman but it was too late.

"She observed the suspect point the gun at him and shoot him, and she saw her husband fall to the ground and she saw the suspect go down the stairway toward Water Street with his bicycle," said Kirkvold.

Jason Cleereman

Jason Cleereman

Using various cameras, police tracked Edgecomb's movements back to his home on Dousman, where a search warrant revealed a bicycle matching the description at the scene as well as one loaded and one unloaded nine-millimeter magazine.

Edgecomb was arrested during a traffic stop in Kentucky. Prosecutors did note that Edgecomb was already out of jail on bond in separate cases, just released in March 2020.