For more than five days, prosecutors have been trying to bring 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to justice. But it has not turned out as expected.
Many will remember the 17-year-old who crossed the state line with a semiautomatic rifle during protests against police violence and racism in Wisconsin last year. The August night ended in tragedy.
First Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum (36), then Anthony Huber (26), before Gaige Grosskreutz (27) was wounded by gunfire. The news, photos and video clips of the event went around the world.
The trial is already underway. Rittenhouse is charged with two murders and one attempted murder.
The now 18-year-old man says he shot himself in self-defense. He does not admit guilt.
For more than five days, the prosecution has tried to prove otherwise.
They want to present Rittenhouse as guilty through a series of testimonies. But it has not turned out as expected. Instead, many witnesses ended support the 18-year-old Claim of legitimate defense.
How it began?
On the night of August 25, 2020, protests in the small town of Kenosha had been going on for several days. Cars and buildings were on fire. People were furious.
The backdrop was the murder of the African American Jacob Blake. The 29-year-old was shot seven times in the back by the police as he was heading to the car of his three children, all under the age of ten.
Only a few weeks earlier, the brutal police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota had rocked the country.
About 30 minutes southwest of the Kenosha protests is the small town of Antioch, Illinois. This is where Kyle Rittenhouse came from. Tonight he decides to cross the state border. He carries an AR-15 rifle and a first aid kit with him.
Two hours before filming, Rittenhouse was accidentally interviewed. He was with other gunmen in Kenosha. The 17-year-old, who had previously expressed his support for Trump and the police on social media, explained that he had come to protect the local population from looting and help the wounded.
Many have wondered why a 17-year-old armed himself and traveled to a city where there had been unrest for several days. Among them is the prosecutor Thomas binger during Wednesday’s trial:
– Did you come to Kenosha looking for trouble?
“No,” Rittenhouse replied. – I did not do anything wrong. I defended myself.
Threatened to kill
For more than a week, the prosecution has brought several witnesses. But it seems to help wrong page, commenters note. Many believe that the testimonies have served the defense and Rittenhouse, not the prosecution.
Here are some examples:
Military veteran Ryan Balch he carried a rifle and patrolled with Rittenhouse. He told the jury that Rosenbaum threatened them before they shot him. According to Balch, the man said he would kill them if he found them alone. Rittenhouse heard the threats.
Video Producer Richie McGinnnis Right-wing news site The Daily Caller told the court that Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse, while he grabbed the latter’s gun. Rittenhouse avoided this and then shot him four times.
Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago-based defense attorney, put it this way, according to the news agency. AP:
– If the outcome after the weapon is not a threatening act that makes Rittenhouse fear for his life, I’m not sure what it is.
Lege Gaige Grosskreutz she is the only surviving victim, and many consider her the lead witness for the prosecution. But on cross-examination accepted Grosskreutz who had carried a loaded pistol that night. When Grosskreutz heard the shots that killed Rosenbaum, he ran towards the sound. There he saw Anthony Huber, who hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse then shot and killed Huber. Grosskreutz acknowledged that he then raised the pistol and pointed it at Rittenhouse, before the latter fired at him. However, the doctor claimed that he did not intentionally take aim and that he would never have shot Rittenhouse.
In advance, legal experts agreed that the prosecution had the greatest challenge.
It may turn out to be true
– The case has gone very badly for the prosecution, said Phil Turner, former AP federal prosecutor.
Has no witness served the prosecution case?
Some witnesses have come out in favor of the prosecution.
Rittenhouse has been described, among other things, as reckless for having participated in such turbulent riots, and that with a semiautomatic rifle.
The prosecutor has also emphasized that many people attended the protests, without firing fatal shots for that reason.
There have also been attempts to downplay Rosenbaum as a threat. For example, a war veteran told the jury that he viewed Rosenbaum as a “babbling idiot” and that the threats were perceived as hollow.
I had to cancel the test
As of Wednesday, it was the defenders’ turn. The trial was then opened with Rittenhouse himself on the witness stand, even though various legal experts thought it was unnecessary.
The prosecutor began the interrogation by asking: All those who shot that night, they intended to kill, right?
– I didn’t mean to kill them. “I intended to stop the people who attacked me,” Rittenhouse replied.
The 18-year-old burst into tears when he told about the first man he shot and killed in Kenosha. Rittenhouse said he was heading to a parking lot with a fire extinguisher to put out a fire when he heard someone yell “Burn in hell.”
Rittenhouse should have responded with “Friendly, friendly, friendly.” Rosenbaum and another protester ran toward him. When Rosenbaum tried to take his gun, Rittenhouse shot and killed the man.
At this point, the judge requested an interruption of testimony to allow the defendant to return to custody.
Rittenhouse could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.