KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Jurors will begin deliberations Tuesday at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial after two weeks of testimony in which prosecutors and defense attorneys painted starkly different pictures of his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha.
Prosecutors claimed in closing arguments Monday that Rittenhouse was a “wannabe soldier” who provoked bloodshed by bringing a semi-automatic rifle to a protest and menacing others, then walking off like a “hero in a Western” after killing two men and wounding a third.
But Rittenhouse’s lawyer countered that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense after being ambushed by a “crazy person” who he feared would wrest away his gun and use it to kill him.
The jury listened carefully to the testimony of a full day of argumentsBefore being instructed to return Tuesday morning, he was told to start deliberations on the case which has sparked fierce American debate over gun violence and law enforcement.
Eighteen jurors have been hearing the case; the 12 who will decide Rittenhouse’s fate and the six who will be designated alternates will be determined by a drawing from a raffle drum.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he shot and injured two people, killing one of them. tumultuous night of protestsIn 2020, we will be protesting racial injustices.
Rittenhouse stated that he traveled to Kenosha, Illinois from Antioch, Illinois to defend property against rioters during the days following a riot. Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white Kenosha police officer.Rittenhouse was a police youth cadet who is now a white man.
In closing arguments, prosecutor Thomas Binger called Rittenhouse a “wannabe soldier” who was “looking for trouble that night” — repeatedly showing the jury drone video that he said depicted Rittenhouse pointing the AR-style weapon at demonstrators.
“This is the provocation. This is what starts this incident,” the prosecutor declared. “You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one who brought the gun, when you are the one creating the danger, when you’re the one provoking other people.”
Rittenhouse is now 18 and faces a mandatory sentence to life imprisonment if she’s convicted. the most serious charge against him, first-degree intentional homicide, which is Wisconsin’s top murder charge.
Binger focused on Joseph Rosenbaum’s murder, 36 years old. He was the first victim to be shot that night. His shooting set off many others. He repeatedly called it murder and reminded jurors it was unfair. Rittenhouse also testified that he knew Rosenbaum wasn’t armed.
Binger said that no video was available to support Rosenbaum’s defense of Rittenhouse and stated Rittenhouse could have fled rather than being killed.
Binger also disputed the contention that Rosenbaum was trying to grab Rittenhouse’s rifle, which he said was not within arm’s reach when the first shot occurred. And Binger argued that once Rosenbaum was wounded, he was incapable of taking away the gun, which was strapped to Rittenhouse’s body, since he was falling to the ground with a fractured pelvis. Rittenhouse kept firing, delivering what the prosecutor called the “kill shot” to Rosenbaum’s back.
“I think we can also agree that we shouldn’t have 17-year-olds running around our streets with AR-15s, because this is exactly what happens,” Binger said.
In his own closing argument, defense attorney Mark Richards called Rosenbaum a “crazy person” who was “hell-bent on causing trouble that night” and went after Rittenhouse unprovoked.
“Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client and going to kill him, take his gun and carry out the threats he made,” Richards said, adding that Rittenhouse never pointed his gun before being chased: “It didn’t happen.”
Richards said an enlarged image that prosecutors said shows Rittenhouse pointing his gun at protesters is “hocus pocus” that doesn’t prove anything.
Rittenhouse, who had just killed Rosenbaum, shot and killed Anthony Huber (26), and injured Gaige Grosskreutz (28) while trying to move through the crowd. Rittenhouse testified that Huber hit him with a skateboard and that Grosskreutz came at him with a gun of his own — an account largely corroborated by video and Grosskreutz himself.
Huber, Grosskreutz, and other people in the crowd tried to stop an active shooter.
When it was all over, Rittenhouse walked away like a “hero in a Western — without a care in the world for anything he’s just done,” Binger said.
The defense, though, said Rittenhouse was set upon by a “mob.” Richards accused prosecutors of using the term “active shooter” for Rittenhouse because of “the loaded connotations of that word.”
Rittenhouse has been hailed by supporters as an hero for standing up against lawlessness, while his foes call him a vigilante.
On Monday morning, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge of possession of a dangerous weaponfor a minor, a misdemeanor which appeared to be the least likely to result in a conviction. You could spend up to 9 months in prison.
The defense argued that Wisconsin law has an exception related to the length of a weapon’s barrel. After prosecutors conceded Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, the judge threw out the charge.
Perhaps because they recognized weaknesses in the case, the prosecutors requested that the judge allow the jury. consider several lesser chargesThey could acquit him for the original charges. Schroeder was willing to comply, as he provided 36 pages worth of instructions legal to the jury.
In his instructions, the judge said that to accept Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense,A jury will have to determine that the accused believed that there was an unjustified threat to his life and that the use of force was appropriate and necessary.
Governor Evers is nearing a decision. Tony Evers stated that 500 National Guard personnel would be available for service in Kenosha, if requested by local law enforcement.
Forliti was reporting from Minneapolis, while Webber came from Fenton in Michigan. Scott Bauer was a writer for the Associated Press. He is from Madison, Wisconsin.
Find AP’s full coverage of the Rittenhouse trial: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse