Kyle Rittenhouse verdict: acquitted of premeditated murder and four other crimes in Kenosha shootings

Rittenhouse, wearing a dark jacket with a burgundy tie and shirt, stood behind the defense table while each innocent verdict was read. He tried to hold back the tears, sobbed and seemed to collapse on the table where his lawyer hugged him.

Rittenhouse’s mother gasped after the final verdict was read and her head fell into her hands.

The panel of five men and seven women discussed more than 25 hours over the past four days in a closely monitored case that polarized an already divided nation. The verdict can not be appealed.

Governor Tony Evers called for peace on the streets in a statement, saying the trial has “reopened wounds that have not yet fully healed”.
During their deliberations, jurors requested to review much of the video evidence of the shootings. In the end, they agreed with Rittenhouse’s testimony that he feared for his life and acted in self-defense.
Judgment sheets filed with the Kenosha County Clerk of Circuit Court showed that the presiding jury in the case signed the innocent verdicts for the five charges on different dates.

Three judgment sheets were dated Wednesday and Thursday. The most serious charge Rittenhouse faced was a first-degree charge of premeditated murder for the fatal shooting of Anthony Huber: paragraph 4. Jury 54 signed the verdict for this count on Wednesday.

The two sheets signed Friday involved the fatal shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum and the charge of ruthless danger to a man who was near Rittenhouse during the shooting.

The judge praises the jury

Since the shootings on August 25, 2020, the case has pitted Americans who saw Rittenhouse as an armed teenage guard against those who saw him as a citizen who took up arms to protect businesses from looting and rioters.

The judge praised the jurors and said he “could not have asked for a better jury.”

Some jurors appeared to be tired when the verdicts were read – their hands on their chins or rubbing their eyes, according to a pool reporter. Others seemed uncomfortable with their arms folded across their chests.

Things we have learned from the trial that challenge assumptions about the case

What’s next for Rittenhouse?

Rittenhouse lawyer Mark Richards said outside court that his client was on his way home and “wants to get on with his life.”

“He has a huge sense of relief,” Richards told reporters.

“He wishes none of this would ever have happened. But, as he said when he testified, he did not start this, and we are in more ways than one grateful that the jury finally got to hear the true story.”

Richards said the decision to put Rittenhouse on the stand “was not a close call.”

“In Wisconsin, if you do not put a client on the stand, you will lose. Dot,” Richards added.

The lawyer said Rittenhouse has had 24-hour security and does not expect to continue living in the area.

“I think there will eventually be some anonymity,” Richards said.

David Hancock, a spokesman for the Rittenhouse family, told CNN affiliate WBBM “The goal is to ensure Kyle’s safety as he progresses as an 18-year-old young man in college studying to be a nurse.”
Here’s what we know about the three men who shot Rittenhouse

Prosecutor ‘disappointed’ over verdict

Following the verdict, Chief Prosecutor Thomas Binger told the court: “The jury has represented our community in this trial and has spoken.”

Binger said in a statement: “Although we are disappointed with the verdict, it must be respected … We ask members of our community to continue to express their opinions and feelings about this verdict in a civil and peaceful manner.”

Huber’s family said in a statement, “there is no responsibility for the person who murdered our son.”

“It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any city, incite violence and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street,” the statement said in the statement.

“We hope decent people will join us in vehemently rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials and our justice system.”

Huber’s girlfriend, Hannah Gittings, was not surprised by the verdict.

“We know this system is a failure,” she said.

Rosenbaum’s fiancĂ©e, Kariann Swart, said: “In this case, the lives of the victims do not matter.”

Kimberley Motley and Milo Schwab, lawyers for Gaige Grosskreutz and Rosenbaum’s estate, said they would continue to seek justice.

“While today’s judgment may mean that justice is delayed, it will not mean that justice is denied,” they said in a statement. “We are committed to revealing the truth that night and holding those responsible to account.”

The prosecution faced uphill

The high-profile verdict created mixed reactions, from the White House to the streets of Wisconsin.

President Joe Biden said in a statement that the verdict “will leave many Americans feeling angry and worried, including myself,” but added that people “must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”

On a cold, sunny afternoon, mostly peaceful crowds gathered outside the courthouse. Protests were planned in several U.S. cities Friday and Saturday, according to social media.

“We want the nation to know that the nation you live in now is not … the United States we used to live in,” Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake, whose shooting by police last summer sparked protests , where Rittenhouse showed up with his gun.

The prosecution faced an uphill challenge from the start because Wisconsin law requires the state to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Rittenhouse did not act in self-defense. But there are limits to a self-defense requirement.

“The accused may only intentionally use force which is intended or may cause death or great bodily harm if the accused has reasonably believed that the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself,” the jury’s explains. instructions.

Things we learned from Kyle Rittenhouse's lawsuit that challenge assumptions about the case
One of the videos the jury asked to review – a drone video showing Rittenhouse shooting Rosenbaum – was at the heart of a defense request for a trial in the case.
The deliberations came after a two-week trial highlighted by emotionally charged and compelling testimony from Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old at the center of debates over self-defense, gun ownership and Black Lives Matter demonstrations. At the booth, he told jurors – and the audience – that he was acting in self-defense.

“I did not do anything wrong. I defended myself,” he testified.

Rittenhouse was charged with five counts of felony criminal mischief, one count of countless murders, one count of countless murders, one count of countless counts of premeditated murder and two counts of reckless endangerment.

Jury members also considered minor offenses for two of the five counts. If convicted, Rittenhouse could face a life sentence in prison.

Schroeder dismissed an indictment for misdemeanor possession and a non-criminal violation of curfew prior to the deliberations.

The charges stem from the chaotic unrest last year in the wake of Kenosha police shooting at Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man. After riots and burning destruction, Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, took a medical kit and an AR-15-like rifle and joined a group of other gunmen in Kenosha on August 25.
There, Rittenhouse fatally shot Rosenbaum – who chased the teenager and threw a bag after him – and then tried to flee. A crowd of people chased the teenager, and Rittenhouse shot at an unidentified man who kicked him; deadly shot Huber, who had hit him with a skateboard; and wounded Grosskreutz, who was armed with a pistol.

What happened in the trial

Prosecutors called 22 witnesses over the course of six days as they tried to show that Rittenhouse acted ruthlessly that night and provoked Rosenbaum by pointing the rifle at him, setting off the ensuing series of events.

“That’s what provokes this whole incident,” Binger said in concluding arguments. “When the defendant provokes this incident, he loses the right to self-defense. You cannot invoke self-defense against a danger you create.”

Prosecutors portrayed the three other people confronting the teenager as “heroes” trying to stop what they thought was an active shooting. Binger also questioned the teenager’s decision to take a gun into the city in the first place, calling him a “chaos tourist.”

Prosecutors say Kyle Rittenhouse provoked fatal shootings, while defense officials say he feared for his life.
At the stand, Rittenhouse testified that he defended himself when he shot four times at Rosenbaum, who he said had threatened him earlier, chased him, threw a bag at him and threw himself at his gun. Rittenhouse also referred to the three other people he shot at as part of a “mob” that was chasing him.
He became emotional and burst into tears during his testimony as he began to report the first shooting, leading to a break in the case.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Richards said Rittenhouse feared for his life when he opened fire.

“Every person who was shot attacked Kyle. One with a skateboard, one with his hands and one with his feet, one with a gun,” Richards said. “Hands and feet can cause major bodily injury.”

The trial featured more than a dozen videos from the night showing what happened before, during and after the shootings. Most of the facts about what happened that night were not up for debate – rather, the core of the trial was the analysis of Rittenhouse’s actions and whether they can be considered “reasonable”.

CNN’s Jason Kravarik, Mike Hayes, Carma Hassan and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.

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