KENOSHA, Wisconsin (AP) – A jury will kick off Tuesday’s deliberations at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial after two weeks of testimony in which prosecutors and lawyers painted very different pictures of him on the night he shot three people on the streets of Kenosha.
On Monday, prosecutors said in closing arguments that Rittenhouse was a “copycat soldier” who provoked the bloodshed by bringing a semi-automatic rifle to the rally and threatening others, then left as a “western hero”, killing two men and injuring a third. …
But Rittenhouse’s lawyer objected that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense after being ambushed by a “madman” who, he feared, snatched his pistol and used it to kill him.
The jury listened to a whole day of arguments before he was told to return Tuesday morning to begin discussions on the case, which sparked a fierce debate in the US over weapons, vigilance, and law and order.
The case was heard by eighteen jurors; 12 who will decide the fate of Rittenhouse, and six who will be appointed as deputies will be determined by the lottery draw.…
Rittenhouse, then 17, shot two men and wounded a third during a stormy night of protests. against racial injustice in the summer of 2020.
Rittenhouse said he came to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois to defend the property from rioters in the days after a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot and killed by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse, a former junior police cadet, is white, like those he shot.
Attorney Thomas Binger concluded by calling Rittenhouse a “wannabe soldier” who was “looking for trouble that night,” repeatedly showing jury drone footage of Rittenhouse pointing AR-style weapons at demonstrators.
“This is a provocation. This is where this incident begins, ”the prosecutor said. “You lose the right to self-defense when you are the one who brought the weapon, when you create danger, when you provoke other people.”
Rittenhouse, now 18, faces a mandatory life sentence if he is found guilty of the most serious charges. against him, first degree murder, which is the main murder charge in Wisconsin.
Binger focused on killing 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person to be shot that night and whose shooting set in motion those who followed. The prosecutor repeatedly called it murder, saying it was unfounded, and reminded the jury that Rittenhouse testified that he knew Rosenbaum was unarmed.
Binger also said there was no video to support the defense’s claim that Rosenbaum had threatened to kill Rittenhouse, and said that Rittenhouse could have escaped instead of shooting.
Binger also disputed the allegation that Rosenbaum was trying to grab a Rittenhouse rifle, which he said was out of range when the first shot was fired. And Binger argued that when Rosenbaum was injured, he could not pick up the pistol strapped to Rittenhouse’s body as he fell to the ground with a fractured pelvis. Rittenhouse continued to shoot, delivering what the prosecutor called a “fatal shot” in Rosenbaum’s back.
“I think we can also agree that we shouldn’t have 17-year-olds running down our streets with AR-15s because that’s exactly what is happening,” Binger said.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Mark Richards called Rosenbaum “crazy” who “was obsessed with causing trouble that night” and went after Rittenhouse for no reason.
“Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was stalking my client and was going to kill him, take his gun and carry out the threats he made,” Richards said, adding that Rittenhouse never pointed his gun until he was being chased. Did not happen “.
Richards said the zoomed-in image, which prosecutors said shows Rittenhouse pointing a gun at protesters, is a “hocus-pocus” that proves nothing.
Following the murder of Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse shot and killed 26-year-old Anthony Huber and wounded 28-year-old Gage Grosskreutz while trying to fight his way through the crowd. Rittenhouse revealed that Huber hit him with a skateboard and that Grosskreutz attacked him with his own pistol – a story largely corroborated by video and by Grosskreuz himself.
The prosecutor said Huber, Grosskreutz and others in the crowd were trying to stop what they believed to be an active shooter.
When it was all over, Rittenhouse walked away like “the hero of a western – oblivious to everything he just did,” Binger said.
However, the defense claimed that Rittenhouse was attacked by the “mafia”. Richards accused prosecutors of using the term “active shooter” to refer to Rittenhouse because of the “heavy connotations of the word.”
Rittenhouse was hailed by supporters as a hero against lawlessness; his enemies branded him as a vigilante.
Earlier Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the dangerous weapon charge. a person under the age of 18, a misdemeanor who appears to have been one of the most likely charges leading to a conviction. He faces up to nine months in prison.
The defense argued that there is an exception in Wisconsin law related to the length of the gun barrel. After the prosecutor’s office acknowledged that the Rittenhouse rifle was not a short-barreled rifle, the judge dropped the charge.
Perhaps acknowledging the weakness of their case, the prosecutor’s office asked the judge to allow the jury to consider several minor charges. if they acquitted him on the original charges. Schroeder agreed to do this, providing the jury with about 36 pages of legal instructions.
In his instructions, the judge said that in order to accept Rittenhouse’s demand for self-defense, the jury must establish that, in his opinion, he was under an unlawful threat and that the force he used was reasonable and necessary.
With the verdict approaching, Gov. Tony Evers said 500 members of the National Guard would be ready to serve in Kenoshi if local law enforcement requested them.
Forliti reported from Minneapolis; Webber from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed from Madison, Wisconsin.
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