AUGUSTA — The lawyer for the Fairfield man charged with attempted murder in the shooting of his ex-girlfriend last April said his client, Jeremy Clement, was trying to kill himself that night and not the victim, Jasmine Caret.

However, the prosecution said Clement did come to kill Caret that night and intended to kill her family, too.

During the first day of the trial against Clement, who is charged with attempted murder, burglary, elevated aggravated assault, assault and possession of a firearm, the 12-person jury heard opening statements and witness accounts of what transpired when Clement allegedly drove his four-wheeler from his home in Fairfield to the Caret household in Oakland.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan, who began his opening statements just before 9:45 a.m. on Monday, said April 19, 2017, was a day made up of moments that are defined by other moments that came before and after it. He said the shooting was a moment that was “never going to stand by itself.”

“How does that single moment become an event that turns into evidence that then convinces each and every one of you beyond reasonable doubt what defined that moment?” he asked the jury of eight men and four women.

Clement’s attorney, Walter McKee, said that while the shooting was a single moment, there was more to the story. He said Clement and Caret had been communicating that day, and that Clement had intended to kill himself that day. However, when he went over to where Caret was living with her mother, Roseanne, in Oakland, things got out of hand. He was hit in the head by a baseball bat, and the gun went off.

Clement previously pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in October for shooting Caret in the chest. The treating physician, Dr. Clarence Kassman, called as the first witness, said Caret was “awake and alert” when she was brought in, though she did have a collapsed lung that required treatment, and the doctor estimated was roughly a 20 percent collapse. He said people can die of collapsed lungs if they go untreated. She also had nerve damage in her right arm, likely from being shot.

The doctor said he did not directly treat Clement, but he did have a laceration on his skull that required 20 to 25 staples to shut. He said a blood alcohol test was done on Caret which indicated she had likely been drinking and could be considered legally intoxicated that day. Caret’s mother said she saw her daughter drink three Twisted Teas, but did not believe her daughter had been drinking earlier in the day.

Fairfield Police Sgt. Matthew Wilcox, who was also called to the stand, said Caret called him to check on Clement earlier in the day but he did not think he was suicidal. He said Clement indicated he had to be in court the next day. He was “tearful and upset,” but did not appear to want to take his own life, Wilcox said.

He said he spoke on the phone with Clement later in the day, but the call was cut short when Wilcox had to assist another officer.

“I’ve dealt with Jeremy on a couple of different occasions,” Wilcox said.

Caret’s mother, Roseanne, was called as a witness and interviewed by the state just before a break was taken. She said she had known Clement since her daughter was 13, and that he had called her daughter at least 20 times that day and was angry over the phone. She said she heard Clement say, “I’m going to kill you and your family, too.” Around 8:30 that night, she heard his four-wheeler come into her driveway. Earlier, she had gotten the baseball bat out of the trunk of her car.

She said by the sound of his voice, Caret could tell Clement wanted to hurt them.

“I was concerned for my daughter,” she said.

Fearful for her daughter’s safety, she went and got a baseball bat her late son had made in high school, which Madigan showed to the jury. Caret’s mother then used the bat on Clement when he broke into her home and after he shot her daughter. She said he kicked open the door, which sent her flying and caused her to “blackout.” She came to when she heard a loud bang and began hitting Clement after she realized he had shot her daughter.

“I was gonna protect Jasmine,” she said.

During cross-examination, McKee called into question Roseanne Caret’s testimony and memory. In a transcript from earlier testimony, McKee said Caret had said she attacked Clement with the baseball bat before he shot her daughter. Caret said she later retracted that statement but agreed it had been made under oath, saying Clement’s previous lawyer had asked her the question that brought out that response.

In an exchange that got heated to the point that Justice Bill Stokes had to ask Caret not to speak over McKee and only answer the questions he asked, Caret said she did not remember all the events from that day, including how many times Clement fired the gun, whether she spoke to an officer who was speaking to her mother, and whether or not Jasmine had also struck Clement with a croquet mallet.

She eventually did admit that she heard Clement say over the phone while he was on speaker that he was going to kill himself, although earlier she had said she did not hear him say that. When played a recorded interview of herself with an officer in which she said she went for Clement’s knees to take him down, she said she didn’t recall that though.

“I do not remember,” she said.

Madigan pointed out Caret was asked a number of questions by a number of attorneys, and that her memory of the entire incident wasn’t totally clear.

Photos of the wounds Roseanne Caret received were entered into evidence, including bruises on her neck and back, as well as a wound to her skull from when she was thrown back by the door. She said she landed on jars which gave her a cut in the head. She said she did not see Clement shoot her daughter, and that she was awoken by the bang of the gun, at which point she “commenced” to hitting Clement with the bat. In previous testimony and in the Monday court date, she used the word commenced.

In earlier testimony, McKee said Caret said she heard three shots, but Caret said she did not remember. One bang she could have heard, she said, was when the officers subdued Clement with a Taser.

The courtroom broke for lunch around noon and reconvened right around 1 p.m. for more testimony.

 

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