KENOSHA, Wis. — The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial will hear competing narrativest Monday of how the actions of the then-17-year-old should be viewed when he fatally shot two men an wounded a third during a violent protest last August.

Before the jury enters deliberations to reach a verdict, lawyers on both sides will give their closing arguments in a case that began Nov. 1 and featured eight days of testimony from about 30 witnesses and more than a dozen videos from the night of Aug. 25, 2020.

The prosecution has painted Rittenhouse as a tourist vigilante from Illinois, armed with bad judgment and a rifle he couldn’t legally possess, looking for righteous vengeance against anti-police rioters

According to his defense lawyers, he is a Kenoshan who was driven by a young sense of patriotism and to defend his community. He killed two people and wounded another to save himself.

The shooting occurred days after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, multiple times in the back, leading to several nights of social unrest, looting and arson last year in Kenosha.

How many charges will the jury look at before coming up with a verdict?

On Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder will instruct the jury about the components of each offense and the options for finding Rittenhouse guilty or not guilty.

Find out more on these charges.Rittenhouse jury will look at lesser charges in fatal shootings. Let’s see what this means.

Since Rittenhouse has raised self-defense, the critical question jurors will decide is whether his decision to use deadly force was reasonable.

Because so much video, most of it already seen multiple times, will be played again in the closing arguments, Schroeder reluctantly agreed to give each side up to 2½ hours to complete their arguments, and in the case of the prosecution, its rebuttal.

Twenty jurors — including eight alternates — were chosen after one day of questioning, dismissals for cause and peremptory strikes by the lawyers. A joke made by a Blake shooter was enough to get one man fired.

Later, a woman was exonerated after she claimed she had complications during her pregnancy. Before the final twelve begin to deliberate the case, the six remaining alternates will randomly be selected.

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Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of Anthony Huber, 26; first-degree reckless homicide in the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36; and attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28.

Two counts of reckless endangerment in first degree are also pending against him for firing four shots at Rosenbaum in less that a second.

Rittenhouse was charged sixthly with minor possession of firearms. Rittenhouse claims that this charge is not possible because there’s an exception to the law.

In addition to the many witnesses, Rittenhouse also took the stand and broke down as his lawyers asked him about the events leading up to the shootings. Rittenhouse was asked many questions by his lawyers about what happened that night as well as the dangers he perceived.

During the cross examination, Rittenhouse’s lawyers also took exception to some of the state’s questions, leading to a motion for a mistrial with prejudice, on which Schroeder did not rule.

Weeping, shouting and pleas for mistrial:Imagine what a dramatic day this could be for Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial

Was there any evidence of what happened on the night?

Only 17 at the time, Rittenhouse instantly became a cause célèbre on conservative news outlets and some gun-rights advocacy groups on social media. The original attorney who represented Rittenhouse was later fired and compared his shootings to 1775’s American Revolution. He called it the “most important case about self defense in American history.”

National supporters have contributed nearly $3 million to Rittenhouse’s bail, legal defense, and family support.

Rittenhouse lived near Kenosha with his sisters and mother in Antioch Illinois. Dominick Black was his brother and lived in Kenosha. Rittenhouse also had family nearby.

Black, Rittenhouse and Black went into downtown in the early morning hours of Aug. 25, to check out the extent of the arson damage caused during the two previous nights. Rittenhouse stated that he was able to meet the owners and managers of a destroyed car dealership after arson.

Nicholas Smith, an ex-employee living nearby, was asked by the owners if they could have him watch over two of the other business locations.

Smith reached out to Rittenhouse and Black for help. They returned the next night, equipped with AR-15-style rifles. Black had bought Rittenhouse’s for him in May because Rittenhouse was underage. The rifle was kept at Black’s Kenosha home. 

About five people, including the trio, spent much of the night in a garage. But after police pushed most of the protesters south after 11 p.m., Rittenhouse and an older man from his group he’d met that night started walking into the remaining crowd, asking if anyone need medical attention. 

McGinnis was recording the conversations for conservative news website The Daily Caller.

The two of them were separated at some point. Rittenhouse was refused entry to the shop. Black then called him to report that some people had vandalized and burned cars at the third Car Source location just three blocks from Rittenhouse.

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

Rittenhouse took a fire extinguisher borrowed from another person, and headed alone south. Rosenbaum was seen aggressively pursuing armed individuals who tried to extinguish fires and prevent property loss at the end of the parking lot.

Rittenhouse ran briefly away from Rosenbaum and then turned to shoot him between cars. Rittenhouse fled north along Sheridan Road, as angry witnesses converged. He stumbled to the ground and was about halfway back from the police station.

He fired four more shots — two at the man who kicked him in the face, one at Huber who had struck him with his skateboard and tried to take his gun, and once at Grosskreutz, a volunteer medic at protests who ran up on Rittenhouse while holding a pistol.

The defense tried to portray Rosenbaum — who suffered from bipolar disorder — as the catalyst to the night’s violence. Mark Richards, defense attorney, said that Rosenbaum “lit the fuse”.

Witnesses claimed that he threatened Rittenhouse with death if Rittenhouse was caught alone.

The prosecution emphasized that no one else considered the diminutive Rosenbaum —  who was unarmed but for a brief time he was seen carrying a chain — as a threat, and none of many video’s captured the specific threats of violence some witnesses said they heard.

According to the state Rittenhouse chased Rosenbaum first before the older man ran after the indicted defendant.

Rittenhouse stated that he believed his attackers, unarmed, would want to take his rifle and use it against Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse had made the purchase of the strong sling, that he used to attach it to his body that day.

Prosecutors are hoping video from both a private drone as well an FBI surveillance plane can convince jurors Rittenhouse shot at someone right before Rosenbaum chased him.  

According to state records, the other victims were trying stop a suspect in homicide, active shooter or both.

Thomas Binger, the Assistant District Attorney, stated that Rittenhouse acted unreasonablely in his opening statement. He repeated many times, despite all the chaos, that Rittenhouse never shot anybody.

Contributing: Ryan Miller, USA TODAY



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