KENOSHA, Wis. — Testimony from a pair of witnesses Tuesday may have advanced the prosecution’s case against Kyle Rittenhouse further than eyewitnesses who earlier gave chilling accounts about the carnage they saw on Aug. 25, 2020.
Rittenhouse (18) faces charges of attempted, reckless, and intentional homicide after he shot three people during violent demonstrations in the city of Milwaukee that night.
Much of the testimony in the first five days was cellphone video. Other testimony by various parties did not undermine Rittenhouse’s claim that he acted in self defense.
Even key state witnesses affirmed that one of Rittenhouse’s victims had been acting aggressively and erratically all night, and had threatened at one point to kill, and that another had pointed a gun at Rittenhouse before he shot him in the arm.
New drone video and a medical examiner’s explanation of gunshot wounds Tuesday cast a different light on the first homicide just before the prosecution rested at midday.
James Armstrong, who is a Wisconsin Crime Lab specialist in forensic imaging, presented drone footage taken just south from Sheridan Road and the intersection with 63rd St. After a brief chase, Rittenhouse, 36, was able to kill Joseph Rosenbaum.
The vast majority of video jurors that have been seen to date came from those on the ground or from an FBI plane almost 9,000ft in the air. Also, they were from east and west sides of the scene.
In the video shown Tuesday, Rittenhouse doesn’t seem to stop between two cars where he shot Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum doesn’t appear to be as close as Rittenhouse as testimony and videos suggest, but he did seem to gain speed on Rittenhouse.
Armstrong claimed that he increased the quality of the footage by zooming in to slow it down and zooming in.
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Jurors also heard from Doug Kelley, an assistant medical examiner from Milwaukee.
He did autopsies for Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. Rittenhouse shot Rittenhouse just a few seconds later.
Rosenbaum sustained five injuries from four rounds of Rittenhouse’s assault rifle.
Rosenbaum was pierced by one bullet, which hit his groin. The bullet struck Rosenbaum’s forehead, bringing the head to its highest point.
One shot entered the center of Rosenbaum’s back, then badly damaged his lungs and liver and fractured several ribs. Kelley explained that one shot struck Rosenbaum’s right hand. It likely hit the ground and then struck Rosenbaum’s leg.
Based on the wounds, their angles and video of the event, Kelley testified the first shot was to the groin from about 4 feet away, which could have made Rosenbaum fall. He may have tried to move the muzzle of his rifle with his hands. The second shot was directed at his arm.
He said that Rosenbaum reached horizontally after he received the fatal shot in the back. However, he was not sure about the order of events.
Kelley said all but the shot to the hand were probably fired from intermediate range with the muzzle between 1 and 4 feet from Rosenbaum.
According to defense counsel, Rosenbaum lunged at Rittenhouse after running after him through the Car Source parking lot.
In cross-examination with Kelley, Mark Richards, the defense attorney, performed an elaborate demonstration right in front the jury. Rittenhouse was the detective involved in the case and held Rittenhouses’ rifle. With his left hand over the barrel or at its end, he was turning in various directions.
Bruce Schroeder, Judge asked for photos from news photographers in order to record the proceedings.
Kelley believed that Rittenhouse had hit Rosenbaum twice, before firing the lethal shot at the back.
The state ended its case with the testimony of the witnesses. Defense began Tuesday afternoon.
Nicholas Smith, 23 years old, testified that Car Source used to be his workplace and that he had been friends with the owners for 10 year. He said one of them had called him and asked for his help in protecting the business from further damage after arsonists destroyed one of its three locations during the first night of rioting in Kenosha.
He said Anmol “Sam” Khindri had even promised to pay him a couple hundred dollars to share with the other people Smith would recruit for the task, but that Khindri never paid him. Last week, Khindri and his brother, Sahil, each testified they had not asked for protection or even knowingly accepted any.
Smith explained that after fighting fires at Car Source in August, he reached out to three of his closest friends and asked them to stand guard at Car Source’s repair shop on September 25th. That afternoon, he said, he noticed on Snapchat that Dominick Black was downtown. Smith requested a ride for body armor and was met by Rittenhouse and Black. Rittenhouse loaned Smith his body armor. Smith asked Black to ride with him, and Rittenhouse agreed.
Smith stated that the four men were at the Car Source Lot on 63rd Street with Sahil Khandri. Smith stated that they were willing to guard Car Source.
Ryan Balch and Jason Lackowski, two of those in that group, were called to testify last week by the prosecution. On Tuesday, the defense called a woman who had come to Kenosha with them, JoAnn Fiedler, 56.
Fiedler stated that she had been following the news throughout summer and understood why Black Lives Matter supporters would be marching. After the march became violent and destructive, Fiedler started a patriots club, where she met Balch.
She stated, “Somebody needs to be heard.”
She stated that there was no other plan than to arrive in Kenosha and protect businesses and homes, but it was only by chance they had met Rittenhouse.
Fiedler brought her .380-caliber handgun, openly carried on her hip, as deterrence, she said.
While standing outside Car Source at 59th Street, she said she heard Rosenbaum threaten to kill her group, and cut their hearts out, but she and everyone else ignored him.
Fiedler stated that Rittenhouse shot three victims and then walked by police. He returned to 59th Street and Fiedler opened the door for Rittenhouse to enter.
Fiedler described him as in shock and stated that he repeated his claim of having shot somebody and that it was necessary for him to repeat the statement. Fiedler claimed that Fiedler took Black’s rifle out, put it down, and went up on the roof to inform them.
Schroeder also denied Tuesday’s defense motion for dismissal of a misdemeanor accusation that Rittenhouse illegally owned a firearm while a minor. However, he agreed to drop the curfew violation ticket.