The Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial took a dramatic turn on Wednesday, November 10, as the accused broke down in tears while testifying about his actions.
The 18-year-old was convicted after he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz during the Jacob Blake protests in August 2020.
However, the teenager pled “not guilty” to the charges and attempted to justify his actions on grounds of “self-defense”.
During the latest trial, Kyle recalled moments from the night of the incident and claimed that he shot towards Joseph Rosenbaum’s direction to protect himself from the latter:
"I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself. I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun. I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me. 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 if I would have let him get my gun.”
Following Kyle’s testimony, prosecutors deemed his actions as “criminal and reckless” while defendants continued to present their stance of “self defense”.
Wednesday's trial also witnessed heated arguments between Judge Bruce Schroeder and prosecutors, as the former continued to scrutinize and question the presented evidence.
Meanwhile, a jury consisting of eight men and 10 women also concluded hearings from nearly 30 witnesses over a period of eight days. Kyle Rittenhouse is currently facing six counts of charges with a bid of “mistrial with prejudice” filed by his attorney Corey Chirafisi.
A detailed look into Kyle Rittenhouse’s criminal charges
Kyle Rittenhouse has been subjected to six criminal charges, including five counts of felony and one count of misdemeanor. The charges are for his actions in killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and harming Gaige Grosskreutz in the Kenosha shooting incident amid Jacob Blake’s protest last year.
Count 1: “First-degree reckless homicide” defines causing the death of another individual in reckless circumstances by showing “utter disregard for human life”, as per Wisconsin law.
Prosecutors are not required to show evidence of the “intent of killing” as part of the charge. It holds the basic sentence of up to 60 years in prison. Kyle is facing the charge for the fatal shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum.
Count 2: “First-degree recklessly endangering safety” is related to endangering the safety of another individual in reckless circumstances and showing “utter disregard for human life”. This carries a minimum sentence of up to 12 and half years, and fine of up to $25,000 or both.
The charge has been levied on Kyle for endangering the lives of two people, Richard Griffins and an unidentified male, by firing shots in their direction.
Count 3: “First-degree intentional homicide” is related to causing the death of another human being with the intention of killing without the existence of “mitigating circumstances” specified under the Wisconsin law.
The charge can result in lifetime imprisonment of a felon. Kyle Rittenhouse is facing the charge for the killing of Anthony Huber.
Count 4: “Attempted first-degree homicide” defines the attempt of attacking an individual with the intention of murder. It has a basic sentence of up to 60 years in prison.
Rittenhouse has been charged with one count of the charge for injuring Gaige Grosskreutz by shooting him in the arm.
Count 5: “First-degree recklessly endangering safety” or the fifth count is similar to the second count. Kyle is facing the charge for attacking an unidentified individual alongside Richard Griffins.
Count 6: “Possession of a dangerous by a minor” involves ownership of a firearm by a person less than 18 years of age. Although Wisconsin allows individuals above 18 to carry firearms in public, it prohibits the same in cases of minors.
Kyle Rittenhouse is facing the charge as he was 17 years old at the time of the shooting.
In addition to the six charges, Kyle Rittenhouse is also facing an “aggravating factor” for “use of a dangerous weapon”. The provision reportedly extends the sentence associated with each felony count by up to five years for each case.
A brief recap of the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide incident
On August 25, 2020, a huge crowd gathered in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The protest was aimed against the police brutality and fatal shooting of 29-year-old African-American man Jacob Blake by officer Rusten Sheskey.
The incident caused uproar in Kenosha County with protests, rallies and mass unrest, including the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide case. On the night of the protest, the then 17-year-old reportedly arrived outside the venue armed with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.
It was assumed that he reached the place with the intention of protecting a car dealership and providing medical support to protestors.
Witnesses from the scene mentioned that Kyle was being pursued by a group that included Joseph Rosenbaum. The latter then attempted to take Kyle’s rifle after a third party fired a gunshot into the air. The teen testified that Rosenbaum threatened to kill him twice and threw a plastic bag while running after him.
Kyle Rittenhouse then shot Rosenbaum four times, hitting his head, hand, thigh and back, killing him on the spot. Meanwhile, the accused shot twice at another unidentified man while fleeing the scene.
He fell to the ground after Anthony Huber struck him with a skateboard and lunged at his rifle, prompting Kyle to kill him after shooting him in the chest.
Kyle Rittenhouse was then followed by Gaige Grosskreutz, who reportedly carried a handgun and pointed it towards the former when the teenager shot him in the arm. Kyle’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, convinced her son to turn himself in but claimed that his actions were only meant as “self-defense”.
Kyle could face lifetime imprisonment if convicted of all the charges. The next hearing of the case is expected to take place on Monday, November 15, 2021.