Murder trial begins for Madison HS wrestling coach

SAN DIEGO - Jury selection is expected to begin tomorrow for the trial of a Madison High School wrestling coach accused of fatally shooting a former assistant coach at the victim's Bay Park home.

Jeret Thomas Needham, 43, is charged with murder in the death last Sept. 24 of Robert Colegrove.

The case was assigned today to Judge Leo Valentine Jr.

San Diego police homicide Detective Desiree Spurlock testified during a preliminary hearing last year that investigators found a bullet hole in the back gate of a residence where the 45-year-old Colegrove lived.

Colegrove's widow, Terra Jones, testified that her husband worked for Needham previously but quit when he found out that Needham was a "drunk."

Jones testified that about four months before her husband was killed, Needham groped her from behind as she made the bed in Colegrove's room -- a converted garage -- behind the home on Denver Street.

On Sept. 24, Needham called about 1 p.m. and asked to come over to talk to Colegrove, Jones testified. She said Needham showed up drunk, pushed his way past her and sat down in Colegrove's chair.

When Needham refused to get out of the chair, Colegrove slapped him on the shoulder, then punched and kicked the defendant after he was on the floor, Jones said, adding that her husband told the defendant, "Keep your hands off my wife."

About an hour later, she said she heard a "big loud bang" and found her wounded husband in the backyard. Colegrove died at the scene. Investigators found a small knife under his body.

About 3:30 p.m. that day, police surrounded a home in Clairemont and ordered Needham to surrender, which he did about 6 p.m.

Needham, who had worked as a "walk-on" coach for the Clairemont Mesa school for three years, faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

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