The homicide trial against Kyle Rittenhouse has come to an end. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday. Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with killing two men and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in summer 2020.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys and Rittenhouse claim that he acted in self defense, however the prosecution portrays him as an aggressor. Prosecutors will have to show that the shooting wasn’t justified in this instance.
The trial heated up when Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense. Rittenhouse burst into tears after his lawyers asked him why he had fatally shot the victim. Later, he told the court that he didn’t have any wrongdoing, he was simply defending himself. “
The night of August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse went to Kenosha during protests after police shot and wounded Jacob Blake. Armed with an AR-15 style rifle, Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two and wounding one. He was eventually able to flee the area and go home to Illinois. After his arrest, Rittenhouse was taken to Wisconsin a month later.
Who is Kyle Rittenhouse?
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, lived in Antioch, Illinois, and traveled to Kenosha, where his father lived, on August 25, 2020. He stated that he was there that night in order to protect local businesses and provide first aid.
Rittenhouse stated to jurors that he’s now studying nursing at Arizona State University. The school stated that Rittenhouse had enrolled online but was not admitted to its nursing school.
He claimed that he was a Kenosha lifeguard and had been part of the EMT cadet program, where he received basic first aid and CPR training. He admitted at trial that he had falsely claimed to have been an EMT certified on the night of shooting.
His attorney stated that Rittenhouse has PTSD. Rittenhouse is in therapy for the trauma.
Who are the victims?
Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, was the first person fatally shot by Rittenhouse on August 25, 2020. He was also shot four more times. Rittenhouse says that Rosenbaum pursued Rittenhouse and was not deterred by the rifle. He grabbed his firearm before he was shot. Rittenhouse had not been touched by him. According to the Washington Post, Rosenbaum was homeless, struggled with bipolar disorder and just that day had been released from a hospital after attempting suicide. He was also reported to have spent many years in prison for having sexual contact with minors.
Anthony Huber, 26, was shot in the chest by Rittenhouse. Born in Kenosha, he died four days after his birthday according to an obituary. Rittenhouse claims that Huber kicked him in his face and hit him with his skateboard. Rittenhouse claimed that he fired on Huber when he reached for his gun.
Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, was the sole survivor of those shot by Rittenhouse that night. Moments after Huber was fatally shot, Grosskreutz was shot in the arm and said as a result he lost 90% of his bicep. At the trial, he testified that he believed “I was going home to die.” Rittenhouse claimed he was reacting to seeing his gun. Grosskreutz told the court Rittenhouse pulled it out as he believed Rittenhouse to be an active shooter.
What are the charges?
Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 2: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 3: First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 4: Attempt first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 5: First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon
Count 6: Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18
If convicted of the homicide charge, Rittenhouse could face life in prison.
After a motion by the defense, Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a curfew violation charge pending against Rittenhouse.
What was captured on video?
All of the shootings were captured on video. All of the events in Kenosha were captured on video.
Videos of the shootings from bystanders and videographers played a major role in the government’s case, including an FBI infrared video from a surveillance plane from almost 9,000 feet above the spot where Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum. Other videos show Rittenhouse running after shooting Rosenbaum, with a group of people following him. Some yelling “Beat him up,” and “Hey! He shot him!” Take that guy!
Prior the second shooting Rittenhouse said that he fell and tripped on the street. He is seen falling to the ground on video. Huber attempted to grab his gun, but Rittenhouse killed him. Video from a cell phone shows Rittenhouse moving away and towards police cars, his hands held high.
Shortly after, Rittenhouse shot a third victim, Gaige Grosskreutz, in the arm. Grosskreutz, who was carrying a gun at the time of his shooting was still holding it. Rittenhouse claims he was acting in self defense.
Prosecutors painted Rittenhouse as the aggressor.
The prosecution attempted to discredit the core of his defense by questioning why a teenager who illegally possessed an AR-15 style rifle would feel that his life was in danger. Thomas Binger was the main prosecutor and tried to portray Rittenhouse, who was armed, by quoting witnesses that said Rittenhouse raised his weapon in the direction others during the night.
“You are telling us you felt that you were going to die. However, pointing a gun at another person will make them feel as if they are about to die. Binger stated that this is what you intended him to feel.
Frustrated and in tears, Rittenhouse said that one of his victims should have fled rather than trying to steal his gun.
Prosecutors presented a drone footage showing Rittenhouse firing at Joseph Rosenbaum, after Rosenbaum had been following the teenager. This footage showed the most detailed images of what happened, and set off the chaos that ensued.
Prosecutors brought forward several witnesses, including Dominick Black, a friend of Rittenhouse’s who faces his own trial for buying the 17-year-old an AR-15 style rifle he wasn’t old enough to legally possess. He said Rittenhouse called him just seconds after his first shooting, saying that he had shot “someone”. Rittenhouse was described by him as being “freaking out” or “really scared.”
Some witnesses from the government may have been more useful than expected to help with the defense strategy. Martin Howard, Kenosha detective in police, said Rittenhouse called him “Friendly!” Friendly! Friendly!” Rosenbaum was following him, and he agreed to the defense’s description that their encounter looked like an “ambush”. “
Prosecutors indicated that the footage taken from the shootings could play an important role in closing arguments.
His attorneys say the shootings were in self-defense.
The defense argues Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. In an effort to support Rittenhouse’s claim that he was threatened, they had witnesses to discuss the chronology of events. Another witness who was there on that night also spoke out and called those who protested police brutality “violent Rioters” and “Antifa.” “
The defense summoned several witnesses in two-and-a-half days. Rittenhouse was allowed to share his story.
Rittenhouse outlined the events leading to the encounter with Joseph Rosenbaum. He described Rosenbaum as the aggressor and claimed that he made verbal threats to Rittenhouse’s safety. The defense countered this claim, saying Rosenbaum “had no way to fulfill his threat”. Rittenhouse claimed that he didn’t notice Rosenbaum before he fled from behind his car. At that point, Joshua Ziminski, who has since been charged with disorderly conduct, stepped toward him with a pistol in his hand, causing Rittenhouse to drop the fire extinguisher he was holding and making him take a step back. Rittenhouse claimed that he had seen Rosenbaum run from his right side and said that he was “cornered.” “
Rittenhouse recalled how he felt he needed to run away from Rosenbaum after seeing him “gaining speed” in Rittenhouse’s direction with his arms out. Rittenhouse stated, “I did not want to be forced to kill Mr. Rosenbaum.” He replied that he kept firing until Rosenbaum was no threat, when Rittenhouse was asked why. “
Rittenhouse claimed he wanted to turn himself in to police but a mob began chasing him.
Rittenhouse was running when he came across Huber. Huber said that he struck Rittenhouse in the head with his skateboard. Rittenhouse claimed that a large group of people approached him after he fell to the ground. He pointed his gun at them. Huber refused to back down, Rittenhouse says Huber punched Rittenhouse in the head and hit him with the skateboard. Rittenhouse said Hubert grabbed his gun and fired one bullet into his chest.
Shortly thereafter, Rittenhouse claimed that Hubert reached for his gun and fired one shot into his chest. Grosskreutz was holding a gun in his right hand, and he shot him in the arm.
Closing arguments will take place Monday. Before deliberations start, lawyers on each side will have two hours to present arguments to jurors.
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