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Here's why an opening statement of the Edgecomb homicide trial sounded familiar to some

Lots of people watched the CourtTV livestream of the Theodore Edgecomb homicide trial that concluded Wednesday.

Several area lawyers thought the opening statement from defense counsel B'Ivory LaMarr sounded familiar. No wonder — much of it was copied word-for-word from Johnnie Cochran's opening in the defense of O.J. Simpson in 1995.

"Lawyers frequently copy and paraphrase each other," said Milwaukee lawyer Daniel Adams. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery, after all. But I've never seen someone do it so flagrantly, basically reading a transcript from the most famous trial of our lifetimes."

Adams said LaMarr probably hasn't tried enough cases to develop his own trial persona and voice yet, or realize older lawyers might recognize the Cochran passages.

LaMarr adopted the same quotes from Martin Luther King Jr., and President Abraham Lincoln, but not Cochran's nod to Cicero. The parallels were just in the beginning of the two statements, about the jury's role, and obviously did not extend to the explanations of Cochran and LaMarr thought the evidence would show.

Cochran famously was part of the defense team that won acquittal for Simpson, charged with the homicides of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Cochran, who got his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1962, died in 2005.
LaMarr graduated from Howard University Law School in 2019. He maintains offices in Houston, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

A jury found Edgecomb, 32, guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in the 2020 shooting immigration lawyer Jason Cleereman, 54, after a traffic encounter. Edgecomb tried to argue self-defense.


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