KENOSHA, Wis. — The Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial took an emotional and heated turn Wednesday, with Rittenhouse crying on the stand, the judge berating prosecuting attorney Thomas Binger and the defense asking for a mistrial.

Rittenhouse testified Wednesday that a man he is accused of murdering threatened to kill him on a night of violent protests in Kenosha last year after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

Rittenhouse, 18, broke down as he described the events of Aug. 25, 2020, that led to him fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, 36. Rittenhouse is also accused of murdering Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.

“I did nothing wrong.” I defended myself,” Rittenhouse testified Wednesday.

Rittenhouse was calm to start his testimony but began to cry before the judge called for a morning break in the trial. After completing the questions from his defense lawyers, Rittenhouse returned and was then asked again. The court stopped for lunch as Rittenhouse was cross-examined by the prosecution.

Prior to the lunch break, Judge Bruce Schroeder, who multiple times raised his voice, repremanding prosecutor Binger over his lines of questioning. After returning from break Rittenhouse’s defense asked for a mistrial, but Schroeder didn’t rule. 

Rittenhouse and his attorneys have said his acts were self-defense as he feared for his life that evening. Intentional homicide, reckless, and attempted murder charges are all possible. He could face life imprisonment if convicted.

Rittenhouse said Rosenbaum screamed, “If I catch any of you (expletives) alone I’m going to (expletive) kill you!” and later said, “I’m going to cut your (expletive) hearts out!”

When Rosenbaum later chased Rittenhouse, he threw a plastic bag at him, which Rittenhouse said he believed was a chain. Rosenbaum said that he heard the gunshot from behind Rittenhouse and then he remembered Rosenbaum holding his gun barrel before shooting.

Rittenhouse reported, “It was shock.”

It happened this way:The visual timeline of violence and death in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake

Rittenhouse claimed that he then walked toward the police station to surrender, and heard shouts of violence as he walked. Huber struck him head-on with a skateboard, he said.

Rittenhouse said he felt lightheaded, and then collapsed. He said that he shot two shots at Huber, but missed. Rittenhouse stated that Huber struck Rittenhouse with his skateboard again, and Rittenhouse shot Huber. 

As Grosskreutz approached him, Rittenhouse said he saw his hands up but then saw Grosskreutz point a pistol at him. Rittenhouse claimed that Grosskreutz fired just one shot at him.

During cross-examination, Rittenhouse said he used deadly force, but did so to stop the people attacking him.

Rittenhouse said he tried to turn himself in once he reached the police line, but an officer told him to leave the area. Rittenhouse stated that Rittenhouse was driven home by a friend to Antioch, Illinois. His mother then drove Rittenhouse to Antioch.

Kyle Rittenhouse breaks down on the stand as he testifies about his encounter with the late Joseph Rosenbaum during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.

The testimony came a day after the state rested and the defense began its case.

Binger, during cross-examination, pressed Binger on Rittenhouse’s timing of Rittenhouse’s testimony. Rittenhouse had listened to hundreds of witnesses and seen video footage of the shootings. Binger made comments that Schroeder said were about Rittenhouse’s right not to incriminate but to keep silent.

“You’re right on the borderline. And you may be over. But it better stop,” Schroeder said.

Binger later asked Rittenhouse about a videotape incident from 10 days before the shootings. Rittenhouse, his friend and a colleague were sitting in a car as they watched people cross the street to a CVS. Rittenhouse thought the shoplifters had either robbed or stolen it.

Rittenhouse said, “I wish I had my AR, I’d fire some rounds at them.”

Months earlier, Binger sought to introduce the video as “other acts” evidence he said showed Rittenhouse’s state of mind, his willingness or desire to use deadly force to protect property, without full information.

Schroeder indicated that at the time he felt strongly against allowing it.

Mark Richards, the defense attorney, objected right away when Binger mentioned CVS. The jury was then sent.

Richards requested that Binger is strongly disapproved.

Binger apologized for not seeking permission from the judge before bringing up the CVS incident, but said Schroeder’s earlier ruling left the door open to raising it at trial.

“Don’t be brazen! Schroeder was furious and told Binger to stop asking questions. “I don’t want another issue,” Schroeder added. “Is that clear?”

The defense requested a mistrial without prejudice after the lunch break. Rittenhouse would not be allowed to be retried. They argued Binger knew introducing the evidence would be detrimental to Rittenhouse and suggested he may have intentionally been seeking a mistrial so the case could be tried again.

Schroeder assured the state that he will give them time to reply, but he again warned Binger. Binger claimed that he had brought up the issue “in good will.” 

“I don’t believe you,” Schroeder replied.

The defense claimed Rittenhouse acted self-defense. Cellphone video, testimony and other evidence did not help much during the initial five days. However, new drone video and a medical examiner’s explanation of gunshot wounds on Tuesday may have advanced the prosecution’s on the first homicide.

Contributing: The Associated Press 

Source: USAToday.com

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