by Michael Tarm, Scott Bauer and Tammy Weber
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Less than three seconds elapsed between when a protester in the streets fired a shot in the air and Kyle Rittenhouse fired his rifle, a force expert told the defense at Rittenhouse on Thursday. Testified for the murder trial.
John Black took the stand as part of an effort by Rittenhouse’s lawyers to show that the then-17-year-old had reason to fear for his life and acted in self-defense when he shot three people, killing two. The protests against racial injustice in Kenosha last year during a turbulent night.
The defense suggested to the jury that the relevant time frame for determining whether Rittenhouse’s use of force was justified is a few minutes around the shooting.
Black said that the first person to be shot that night, Joseph Rosenbaum, took 2 minutes, 55 seconds after the shooting followed Rittenhouse to a car lot by the time Rittenhouse contacted police.
Prosecutors, for their part, have insisted on a much longer window, saying the tragic chain of events took place in hours, starting with Rittenhouse’s fatal decision to go into a volatile protest with a rifle.
Rittenhouse, now 18, opened fire during unrest that erupted in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 over the wounding of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment. Rittenhouse is white, as is the one he shot.
Rittenhouse went to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic weapon and a medicine bag, which the former police and fire young cadet said had attempted to protect property after rioters had set fires and ransacked businesses the previous nights. had tried.
The case has divided Americans as to whether Rittenhouse was a patriot who stood up against anarchy or a vigilante.
On Wednesday, Rittenhouse spent much of the day on the stands giving an account of what happened in those frenzied minutes on August 25, 2020, crying so loudly at one point that the judge called a recess.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” he said.
In an account largely corroborated by video and prosecutors’ own witnesses, Rittenhouse said that Rosenbaum surrounded him and placed his hand on the barrel of his rifle, another man hit him with a skateboard, and a third man hit him with a skateboard. came to him with a gun. His own
His testimony was interrupted by an angry exchange in which his lawyers called for a wrongful trial with the right of a retrial, accusing the chief prosecutor of asking questions out of Rittenhouse.
Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, although clearly mad at the prosecutor, did not immediately rule on the request. On Thursday, he took the matter forward and said it would be ideal if the hearing ends on Friday.
Much of the testimony focused on the murder of Rosenbaum, as the bloodshed that followed gained momentum.
Rittenhouse said Rosenbaum was carrying a chain earlier that night and had twice threatened to kill her.
“If I had let Mr. Rosenbaum take his gun from me, he would have used it and killed me with it,” he said, “and probably killed more people.”
During the cross-examination on Wednesday, prosecutor Thomas Binger sought to remove the state’s argument that Rittenhouse created the dangerous situation in the first place.
“You understand that when you point your AR-15 at someone, it can make them feel like you’re going to hit them, right?” Binger asked.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin; Weber from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writers Amy Forliti from Minneapolis and Kathleen Foodie from Chicago contributed.
Get the AP’s full coverage on Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse