Local wrestling coach Jeret Needham, 42, appeared in court for the first time since being accused of fatally shooting acquaintance Robert Colegrove in Bay Park.
A local high school wrestling coach, accused of killing an acquaintance, may have been arguing with the victim over a woman, according to the defendant's lawyer.
On Friday, Jeret Needham, 42, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Needham is accused of shooting Robert Colegrove, 45, on Tuesday in Bay Park.
Colegrove briefly worked as Needham’s assistant coach at Madison High School, according to Kerry Armstrong, Needham's attorney.
Armstrong said the shooting may have resulted from an argument about an incident regarding the victim’s girlfriend that happened months ago.
“My client, Mr. Needham, was getting off the couch. His hand went back and accidentally made some contact with the female’s body purely by accident,” Armstrong said. “At the time, there was very little discussion about it. He said he was sorry, and she said, ‘no problem.’”
Armstrong said the victim beat up his client, catching Needham completely off guard.
“He went over there (Tuesday) to see his friend and was jumped regarding something that happened seven months ago,” Armstrong said.
Needham’s supporters, including his wife and parents, filled the courtroom Friday.
“Students loved him. Teachers loved him,” Armstrong said.
“It’s just a sad situation.”
On Tuesday, Colegrove was discovered dead in the backyard of a home on Denver Street. Needham surrendered to police in Clairemont later that day.
If convicted, Needham faces 50 years to life in prison.
The judge set bail at $1 million. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 18.