Jury begins deliberations in murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse

Jury begins deliberations in murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse

Kenosha, Wes. — Jurors begin deliberations Tuesday in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, two weeks after testimony in which prosecutors and defense attorneys painted very different pictures of his actions on the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha.

Prosecutors claimed in closing arguments Monday that Rittenhouse was a “wishful soldier” who fomented the bloodshed by bringing in a semi-automatic rifle to protest and threatening others, then scurrying off like a “hero in the West” after two men were killed and a third was wounded. .

But Rittenhouse’s lawyer responded by saying that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defence after being ambushed by a “madman” who was afraid he would take his gun and use it to kill him.

Jurors heard a full day of arguments before they were asked to return Tuesday morning to begin deliberations in the case that has sparked fierce debate in the United States over weapons, vigilance, and law and order.

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The case was considered by eighteen jurors; The 12 who will decide Rittenhouse’s fate and the six who will be named replacements will be decided by a drag from the drag drum.

Rittenhouse, 17, shot two men to death and wounded a third during a tumultuous night of protests against racial injustice in the summer of 2020.

Rittenhouse said he went to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, to protect the property from rioters in the days after the killing of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse, a young former pupil of the police, is white, as are those he shot.

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In closing arguments, Attorney General Thomas Binger called Rittenhouse a “wishful soldier” who was “looking for trouble that night” — repeatedly showing a jury video of a drone that he said depicted Rittenhouse pointing an AR weapon at protesters.

“This is the provocation. This is what started this incident,” the prosecutor declared. “You lose the right to self-defense when you are the one who brought in the gun, when you are the one creating the danger, when you are the one who is provoking others.”

Rittenhouse, now 18, faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the most serious charge against him, first-degree murder, the largest murder charge in Wisconsin.

Binger focused on the murder of 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man shot that night and the shootings that followed. The attorney general repeatedly called the order murder, saying it was unjustified and reminding jurors that Rittenhouse testified that he knew Rosenbaum was defenseless.

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Binger also said there was no video to support the defense’s claim that Rosenbaum threatened to kill Rittenhouse, and said Rittenhouse could have run away instead of being shot.

Binger also disputed the claim that Rosenbaum was trying to seize Rittenhouse’s rifle, which he said was not within his reach when the first shot occurred. Binger argued that once Rosenbaum was injured, he was unable to remove the gun, which was strapped to Rittenhouse’s body, because it was falling to the ground with a broken pelvis. Rittenhouse continued to shoot, delivering what the prosecutor called a “kill shot” to Rosenbaum’s back.

“I think we can also agree that we shouldn’t have 17-year-olds running our streets with AR-15s, because that is exactly what happens,” Binger said.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Mark Richards called Rosenbaum a “crazy person” who was “intent on making trouble that night” and chased after Rittenhouse unprovoked.

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“Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing down and killing my client, taking his gun and carrying out his threats,” Richards said, adding that Rittenhouse had never aimed his gun before chasing him.

Richards said the enlarged photo that prosecutors said showed Rittenhouse aiming his rifle at protesters was “hocus pocus” that doesn’t prove anything.

After killing Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Hooper, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, while trying to force his way through the crowd. Rittenhouse testified that Huber hit him with a skateboard and that Grosskreutz came to him with his own pistol – an account largely confirmed by the video and Grosskreutz himself.

The attorney general said Huber, Grosskreutz and others in the crowd were trying to stop what they believed to be an active shooter.

When it was all over, Rittenhouse walked away like “a hero in the West – without caring for the world about anything he’d just done,” said Binger.

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Despite this, the defense said Rittenhouse was attacked by a “mob”. Richards accused prosecutors of using the term “active shooter” for Rittenhouse because of the “loaded connotations of that word.”

Supporters hailed Brittenhouse as a hero who took a stand against lawlessness. His opponents described him as a vigilante.

Earlier on Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under the age of 18, a misdemeanor that appeared to be among the charges most likely to convict. Up to nine months in prison.

The defense argued that Wisconsin law had an exception regarding the length of the barrel of the weapon. After prosecutors admitted that Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, the judge dismissed the charge.

Perhaps recognizing the weaknesses in their case, prosecutors asked the judge to allow the jury to consider several fewer charges if they cleared him of the original charges. Schroeder agreed to do so as he handed about 36 pages of legal instructions to the jury.

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In his instructions, the judge said that to accept Rittenhouse’s claim to self-defense, the jury must find that he believed there was an unlawful threat to him and that the amount of force he used was reasonable and necessary.

With sentencing looming, Governor Tony Evers said 500 National Guard members would be willing to serve in Kenosha if local law enforcement asked them to.

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Forletti reported from Minneapolis. Webber is from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writer Scott Power contributed from Madison, Wisconsin.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the Rittenhouse experience: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

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