Kyle Rittenhouse draws slips of paper to help determine jury pool in homicide trial

The jury panel has been criticised for being overwhelmingly white, with only one person of colour

Namita Singh
Tuesday 16 November 2021 15:20

Prosecutors deliver closing arguments in Rittenhouse trial

The judge in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial will use a raffle drum to select 12 out of 18 jurors who will decide the fate of the 18-year-old accused charged with homicide in the deaths of two men and the wounding of a third, with the defendant himself drawing several slips of paper.

Judge Bruce Schroeder had said last week that he would select the names from a tumbler on Tuesday.

While the pool of jurors hearing the case started at 20 –12 jurors and eight alternates – this number was reduced to 18 after two jurors were dismissed.

One juror was let go for health reasons, while another was dismissed after he cracked a joke to a court security officer about a police officer shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back.

In street protests that followed after the shooting, Mr Rittenhouse, 17 years old at the time, fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36 and Anthony Huber, 26. He also shot a third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded but survived.

Dismissing the juror, Mr Schroeder said that the joke showed bias and “would seriously undermine the outcome” of the Rittenhouse trial.

About 150 people were considered as prospective jurors in the case, highlighting the attention the trial received in the city, according to a New York Times report. The jury selection, however, was completed in a single day at the trial and had come down to 20 people, including 11 women and nine men.

The jury panel was criticised for being overwhelmingly white, with only one person of colour, reported USA Today. Kenosha County has a roughly 75 per cent white population.

Of the 18 jurors hearing the case, 12 will decide on the trial of Mr Rittenhouse, while six will be determined as alternates by drawing names from a lottery drum and would be let go.

With prosecution and defence attorneys having made their closing arguments on Monday, the jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Thomas Binger began his closing argument on the tenth day of the trial by branding Mr Rittenhouse “the only killer” on the night in question and dismissed the self-defence argument, saying: “You cannot claim self-defence against a danger you create.”

“There’s people getting in people’s faces. There’s yelling. There’s shouting. There’s even shoving. And yet, in this entire sequence of events — from the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday [23 August 2020], all the way after that, everything this community went through — the only person who shot and killed anyone was the defendant,” Mr Binger said.

In response, lead defence attorney Mark Richards said his client shot in self defence as he asked jurors to use their “common sense” to evaluate his claim.

“Kyle shot Joseph Rosenbaum to stop a threat to his person. And I’m glad he shot him,” Mr Richards said. “Because if Joseph Rosenbaum had got that gun, I don’t for a minute believe he wouldn’t have used it against somebody else.”

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