The jury is beginning to consider the Kyle Rittenhouse murder case

KENOSHA, Wis. The jury on Tuesday began discussing the murder case against Kyle Rittenhouse after listening to dueling depictions of him as a “wannabe soldier” looking for trouble, or a concerned citizen being attacked while trying to protect property. .

The case went to the anonymous jury of 12 members after Rittenhouse himself, in an unusual move, was allowed by Judge Bruce Schroeder to pull the numbered pieces of paper from a raffle drum that decided which of the 18 people sitting in the judgment during the judgment. the trial would decide his fate and which would be rejected as deputies.

That task is usually performed by a legal assistant, not the defendant.

Rittenhouse, 18, risks life in prison if convicted of using an AR-like semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and injure a third during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. The former police cadet is white, just like the ones he shot.

Rittenhouse testified that he acted in self-defense after being attacked, while prosecutors claimed he instigated the bloodshed. The case has become a hotspot in the American debate on weapons, protests, vigilance and law and order.

The jury appeared to be overwhelmingly white. Potential jurors were not asked to identify their race during the selection process, and the court did not provide a racial breakdown.

While the jury pondered, dozens of protesters – some for Rittenhouse, some against – stood outside the courthouse. Some spoke quietly to them on the other side, while others shouted insults. A woman could be heard repeatedly calling Rittenhouse supporters “white supremacists.”

A small cardboard cutout intended to represent Rittenhouse was erected outside, with the figure wearing a “Konvict Killer Kyle” shirt. Another person carried a sign that read, “Heal Kenosha.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who faced criticism over his response to the 2020 Kenosha protests, called for calm while the jury discussed. He announced last week that 500 members of the National Guard would be on duty in Kenosha if needed.

“Whatever the outcome of this case, I call for peace in Kenosha and throughout our state,” Evers tweeted. He added: “I urge all those who choose to come together and exercise their rights for the first change in any society to do so safely and peacefully.”

The large-scale protests that some had foreseen did not materialize during the trial’s testimony. Most days, only a few protesters gathered on the steps of the courthouse, and the high fence that protected the building during last year’s riots is gone.

The judge told reporters he was inclined to let jurors decide how late in the day to allow the hearings to go, and he suggested he would give the news media about an hour to go to court after the jury sent notice. , that it has reached a judgment.

During the closing arguments on Monday, prosecutor Thomas Binger claimed that Rittenhouse set the deadly chain of events in motion by bringing a semi-automatic rifle to a protest and threatening others, and then walked away as a “hero in a western.”

But Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards denied that Rittenhouse was assaulted by a “crazy person” he feared would twist his gun away and use it to kill him.

Rittenhouse, then 17, had traveled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, in what he said was an attempt to protect property from troublemakers in the days after a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by a white Kenosha police officer. .

Binger said Rittenhouse was “looking for trouble that night,” and he repeatedly showed the jury’s drone video, which he said depicted Rittenhouse pointing his weapon at protesters.

“This is the provocation. This is what starts this incident,” the prosecutor said. He added: “You lose the right to self-defense when you are the one who brought the gun, when you are the one who creates the danger, when you are the one who provokes other people.”

Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, now 28.

In his self-defense case, Rittenhouse testified that Rosenbaum chased him and grabbed his rifle – testimony that is largely confirmed by video and some of the prosecution’s own witnesses.

As for Huber, he was shot down after being seen on video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. And Grosskreutz admitted he had his own gun aimed at Rittenhouse when he was shot.

In his instructions to the jury, Schroeder said that in order to accept Rittenhouse’s claim of self-defense, jurors must find that he believed there was an unlawful threat against him and that the amount of force he used was reasonable and necessary.

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Relief reported from Minneapolis; Webber from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed from Madison, Wisconsin.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the Rittenhouse process: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

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