Kyle Rittenhouse verdict: Shooter found not guilty on all charges in homicide trial

Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with five felony charges for shooting dead two men and seriously wounding a third during unrest over the police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August

Rachel Sharp,Alex Woodward
Friday 19 November 2021 18:17
Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty on all charges in homicide trial
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Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all five charges in his homicide trial for shooting dead two men and seriously wounding a third during a night of unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.

The jury returned its verdict on Friday afternoon after spending four days deliberating on the charges.

Mr Rittenhouse, 18, began shaking uncontrollably, before his knees appeared to give way and he collapsed to his seat as he learned he would walk out of court a free man.

The teenager hugged his attorney, who gestured to him to take deep breaths as he sobbed.

Mr Rittenhouse was charged with five felony counts of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of recklessly endangering safety in the first degree.

The teenager, who was 17 at the time, travelled from his home in Antioch, Illinois, armed with an AR-15-style rifle to Kenosha, Wisconsin on 25 August 2020 amid protests over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake.

He shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and also shot Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived.

Mr Rittenhouse claimed he acted in self defence after he was attacked by a mob. The prosecution claimed that Mr Rittenhouse provoked the violence and then used deadly force.

Mr Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards said the 18-year-old was looking forward “to getting on with his life” and left the courthouse and headed home as soon as the verdict was delivered.

“He’s relieved, and he looks forward to getting on with his life. And having a jury of 12 people find him not guilty meant the world to him, in practical and symbolic ways,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, the family of one of the men he shot and killed said they were “heartbroken” at his acquittal.

“We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son Anthony Huber,” said Mr Huber’s parents.

“There was no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr Rittenhouse’s other victims Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz.”

Prosecutor Thomas Binger said in a statement that “the jury has represented our community in this trial and has spoken” after the verdict was returned.

Kyle Rittenhouse began shaking uncontrollably before collapsing to his seat as he learned his fate

The most serious charges against Mr Rittenhouse were first-degree intentional homicide for the death of Mr Huber and first-degree reckless homicide for the death of Mr Rosenbaum.

Each of those charges carried a sentence of up to 60 years in prison if convicted, with an additional five years for use of a dangerous weapon.

Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a sixth charge for possession of a weapon under the age of 18.

The misdemeanour charge was dropped last week because of a technicality in Wisconsin’s open carry law about the length of the barrel length of the firearm.

The judge had also previously dismissed another misdemeanor charge for violating a curfew in the city that night.

Judge Schroeder had instructed the jury to also consider several so-called “lesser-included” charges if they were unable to convict on the initial charges.

Jurors had begun their fourth day of deliberations on Friday morning, after spending more than 24 hours over the previous three days working on the case.

During the trial, videos shown to jurors traced the shootings from the moments before Mr Rittenhouse fired his first shot to his attempted surrender to police minutes later, all within less than four minutes.

Kyle Rittenhouse armed with his AR-15 the night he shot dead two men and wounded a third

“If there’s somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself, obviously, but I also have my med kit,” Mr Rittenhouse told The Daily Caller’s McGinniss in one video.

Pointing to other armed men with him, he said: “Their job is to protect me.

“We’re running medical and we’re going in and we’re getting people,” he said.

Mr Rittenhouse did not provide medical aid to the people he shot that night.

He claimed that he was a “college student studying nursing at Arizona State University” in his testimony, though a university spokesperson said he had “not gone through the admissions process” and was not enrolled in its nursing programme. He began a non-degree online programme days before the start of the trial.

Footage shows Mr Rosenbaum, who was unarmed, chasing Mr Rittenhouse, and throwing a plastic bag.

His fiancee testified that Mr Rosenbaum – who was released from a Milwaukee hospital earlier that day – was carrying papers, socks, deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Before Mr Rosenbaum ran behind Mr Rittenhouse, another man, Joshua Ziminski, fired a “warning shot” nearby, according to a criminal complaint.

Seconds later, Mr Rittenhouse – turning to face Mr Rosenbaum – fired four shots.

More video shows a group of people surrounding Mr Rosenbaum as he bleeds on the ground. Mr Rittenhouse can then be seen fleeing the area.

“If I would have let Mr Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would have used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people,” Mr Rittenhouse told the court.

The Daily Caller’s McGinniss, who interviewed Mr Rittenhouse moments before the shootings, was trailing Mr Rittenhouse and Mr Rosenbaum, and ended up only a few feet away when Mr Rittenhouse fired his gun the first time – close enough that Mr McGinniss said he checked to see whether he had been shot.

Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty on all 5 charges

Mr McGinniss, who was named as both a witness and a victim in the case, claimed that Mr Rosenbaum had first lunged at Mr Rittenhouse, and seconds later was comforting a dying Mr Roseumbaum.

“I was just telling him that we’re going to have a beer together afterwards, and it was all going to be OK,” he said.

In footage that follows, people can be heard shouting after Mr Rittenhouse as he jogs towards a police line.

Gaige Grosskreutz, a street medic who was armed with a pistol as he followed the crowd, called out to Mr Rittenhouse as he left the scene near Mr Rosenbaum, according to video presented in the trial.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Mr Grosskreutz can be heard saying. “You shot somebody? Who’s shot?”

“At that moment, the only thing I was concerned about was finding who had been shot,” he told the court.

“In the moment, I thought the defendant was an active shooter.”

Video that follows shows an unidentified man – referred to as “jumpkick man” in court – leaping at Mr Rittenhouse, who fires two shots and misses.

Mr Huber – who can be seen in video chasing after Mr Rittenhouse behind “jumpkick man” – appears to swing his skateboard and grab for Mr Rittenhouse’s rifle before Mr Rittenhouse fires a shot into his chest.

Mr Huber was the second man killed that night.

After firing at Mr Huber, Mr Rittenhouse fires a single shot at Mr Grosskreutz, who was approaching Mr Rittenhouse with his arms raised before lowering them moments before Mr Rittenhouse fired.

Mr Grosskreutz told the jury his arm was “vaporised” at that range.

Video shows him kneeling on the ground as he holds a bloody arm and screams out for medical attention.

Mr Rittenhouse – who fired a total of eight times that night – then walks away from the scene with his hands up toward a line of armoured law enforcement vehicles in front of him.

Kenosha police officer Pep Moretti testified that he did not see Mr Rittenhouse’s approach as an attempt to surrender.

He warned him to get back and his partner fired pepper spray from his squad car.

A headline written by an editor on the UK homepage which linked to this article for approximately one hour on 19 November 2021 inaccurately stated that the men shot by Rittenhouse were black. They were not, and we are happy to set the record straight.

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