A jury on Friday found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges in the shootings of three men in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The jury who acquitted the teen was made up of seven women and five men.They had been deliberating since Tuesday morning and heard from more than 30 witnesses during two weeks of testimony.
The case focused on whether Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed two men and wounded a third during a night of protests and civil unrest last year.
Rittenhouse had faced five charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a sentence of life in prison.
On August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse went to Kenosha during protests that erupted after police shot and wounded Jacob Blake .He testified that he intended to help protect local businesses and provide first aid.Armed with an AR-15 style rifle that night, Rittenhouse ended up in the midst of the crowd and shot three men, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.
Afterward, Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, was able to leave the city and return home to Illinois.
A month later, he was extradited to Wisconsin after his arrest.
Rittenhouse and his attorneys argued that the teen had only fired in self-defense, while the prosecution painted him as the aggressor.In this case, the burden of proof fell on the prosecutors to prove the shooting was not justified.
The trial heated up when Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense last week.
At one point, Rittenhouse broke into tears when his attorneys questioned him about why he fatally shot Rosenbaum.He said he believed Rosenbaum would have taken his gun and shot him and others if he could.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, I was defending myself,” Rittenhouse said.
At closing arguments on Monday, prosecutors disputed the defense’s self-defense claim, telling the jury that Rittenhouse was an aggressor, a liar, and an “active shooter” who did not face imminent threats of great bodily harm or death that night.Instead, the state argued that Rittenhouse was the one who provoked the violence and posed a threat to others.
“If you are the one that is threatening others, you lose the right to claim self-defense,” lead prosecutor Thomas Binger told the jury.
The defense, however, maintained in their summation that the teenager’s actions were protected under the law, and described the threat they said he faced from rioters.
“There was no threatening behavior that started this.Mr.Rosenbaum was hell-bent on causing trouble that night,” defense attorney Mark Richards said, once again placing the onus for the violence on others.”But Kyle Rittenhouse’s behavior was protected under the law of the state of Wisconsin.”
A breakdown of the charges against Rittenhouse Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon.
Rittenhouse is charged with recklessly causing the death of Joseph Rosenbaum.The felony carries a maximum possible sentence of 65 years.
Count 2: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon.Rittenhouse is charged with endangering Richie McGinniss’ safety when he shot at him while McGinniss was filming Rittenhouse.The felony carries a maximum possible sentence of 17.5 years in prison or a $25,000 fine.
Count 3: First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon.Rittenhouse is charged with intentionally causing the death of Anthony Huber.The felony carries a sentence of life in prison, plus five years for the crime being committed with a dangerous weapon.
Count 4: Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon.
Rittenhouse is charged with attempting to intentionally cause the death of Gaige Grosskreutz.The felony carries a maximum possible sentence of 65 years.
Count 5: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon.Rittenhouse is charged with recklessly endangering the safety of an “unknown male.” The felony carries a maximum possible sentence of 17.5 years in prison or a $25,000 fine.
A sixth count, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, was dropped by the judge before both sides began their closing arguments .Prior to the trial, Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder also dismissed a curfew violation charge pending against Rittenhouse after a motion by the defense.
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