KENOSHA, Wis. – The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial began deliberating Tuesday after lawyers for both sides made their final arguments.
It will be up to 12 jury members to determine whether Rittenhouse is guilty of the first-degree intentional homicide of Anthony Huber, first-degree reckless homicide of Joseph Rosenbaum and attempted first-degree intentional homicide of Gaige Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse, then 17, shot the three men during a violent night in Kenosha in August 2020 following days of protest after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man. Blake suffered paralysis, while the officer who shot him was exonerated of all federal and state charges.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued a self-defense case, and the 18-year-old took the stand to say he feared for his life that night. Rittenhouse was portrayed by the prosecution as a vigilante, who arrived in Kenosha to seek trouble and then used excessively deadly force.
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The governor prepared for possible violence after the verdict. Tony Evers sent about 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops to the Kenosha area to be on standby.
The troops would help the “hundreds of officers from volunteering law enforcement agencies” if they need assistance in case of unrest, according to Evers’ office.
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As closing arguments progressed, several small demonstrations took place on the steps at the courthouse.
“As of now, we really don’t have a lot of intel suggesting we’re going to have an issue down here,” said Sgt. David Wright, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. “We’ve been working in contact with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of our community.”
Wright pointed out that Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth did not declare an emergency or request the National Guard.
“I’m sure it will be very nice to have that in place if we do need it,” Wright said. “But we’re not anticipating to have any issues down here. Everybody who’s been to this place has been extremely cordial, and has not shown any aggression.
Jury commences deliberations over 5 charges. It asks for more copies of instructions.
Jurors will consider information from eight days of testimony from about 30 witnesses and more than a dozen videos from the night of Aug. 25, 2020.
The closing arguments lasted past 6 p.m. on Monday and Judge Bruce Schroeder sent all 18 jurors home that night. Six alternates were selected Tuesday by picking numbers from a tumbler. The remaining 12 then began deliberations, while the alternates are kept at the courthouse in case they are needed.
Just a few hours later, the jurors demanded additional copies of their instructions. By noon, no other requests were made.
Jurors will also consider the attempted and homicide charges. Rittenhouse fired two shots at an unidentified man moments before he shot Huber and Grosskreutz. An unidentified man was hit by Rittenhouse’s bullets moments before he shot Huber and Grosskreutz. A Daily Caller reporter was present at the scene of Rosenbaum’s shooting.
In the event of disagreement, the jury can consider other charges.
A jury may consider lower charges:The Rittenhouse jury may consider lesser charges for fatal shootings. This is what it means.
Schroeder rescinded Monday the misdemeanor weapons charges Rittenhouse, who was charged with minor possession of firearms. The defense argued the charge couldn’t apply because of an exception in the law, which has to do with the length of the barrel or the overall length of the rifle. When prosecutors conceded the gun was not short-barreled, Schroeder dismissed the charge.
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What sentence could Rittenhouse serve in prison?
Rittenhouse faces a mandatory lifetime sentence if she is convicted for first-degree intentional murder in Huber’s death. The modifier of “use of a dangerous weapon” in the charge carries an additional five years of prison time.
Lesser charges the jury can consider are second-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless homicide, which both carry up to 60 years in prison.
The first-degree reckless homicide in Rosenbaum’s death carries up to 60 years in prison, plus five additional years for the “use of a dangerous weapon” modifier.
If convicted of attempted first-degree intentional homicide of Grosskreutz, Rittenhouse would face up to 60 years in prison, plus five years for the same weapon modifier.
The lesser charges the jury can consider are attempted second-degree intentional homicide and first-degree reckless endangerment charges, punishable by up to 30 years and up to 12½ years, respectively.
Each count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, connected to the unidentified man and the Daily Caller reporter, carries up to 12½ years in prison, plus a five-year weapon modifier.
Defense claims Rittenhouse visited Kenosha for ‘help;’ prosecutors claim he was an active gunman.
Monday was the closing argument. Lawyers presented very different interpretations.
Rittenhouse’s lawyer Mark Richards depicted him as a teen who wanted to “help the community” after nights of protest.
Thomas Binger, assistant district attorney said Rittenhouse claimed to be an EMT throughout the night. He brought a gun to “a fistfight” and created an active shooter situation after he killed Rosenbaum, Binger said.
Binger stated, “The defendant wants to make you believe that he brought the gun. He’s permitted to kill.”
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Richards was focused on Rosenbaum, the cause of all the tragedies that night.
“He was an evil man. Richards stated that he was a rioter and that my client had to deal alone with him on the night.
“Kyle is not an active gunman. Richards stated that this buzzword is one that the state loves to grab onto because it justifies the actions of the mob. Richards said, “He responded to attacks on him.”
Binger claimed that Rittenhouse could have used his gun in Rosenbaum’s shooting. Binger stated that Rittenhouse could have fled the scene or taken out his gun.
Each side disagreed about whether Rosenbaum was a threat to Rittenhouse’s safety and attempted to seize Rittenhouse’s gun to kill him.
“I am glad that he shot him because, if Joseph Rosenbaum had the gun, I can’t believe he would not have used it to harm someone else.” Richards stated that he was insane and irrational.
Binger relied heavily upon the videos. He rewatched them many times.
“The only immediate danger in the night was Kyle Rittenhouse,” assistant district attorney James Kraus said to jurors during state’s counter.
Molly Beck and Bill Glauber contributedAssociated Press; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel