By MICHAEL TARM, SCOTT BAUER and TAMMY WEBBER
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – The defense has rested its case in the murder case against Kyle Rittenhouse, which sets the stage for final arguments in the shootings that left the Americans in disagreement over whether he was a patriot who took a stand against lawlessness or vigilance.
The judge indicated that closing arguments could be held on Monday.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers concluded their side of the case on Day 9 of the trial on Thursday, a day after the 18-year-old Rittenhouse told the jury he was defending himself against assault and had no choice but to use his rifle to kill two men and injure . a third on the streets of Kenosha.
Prosecutors have tried to portray Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed that took place during a tumultuous night of protests against racial injustice in August 2020.
Rittenhouse could face life in prison if convicted.
The defense put witnesses in the stands over 2 1/2 days. Prosecutors testified over a period of about five.
The Kenosha protests were sparked by Jacob Blake, a black man wounded by a white police officer. Rittenhouse, then 17, went to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, in what the former police and firefighter injured said was an attempt to protect property after insurgents set fire to and ransacked businesses the previous nights.
Rittenhouse is white, just like the ones he shot.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s past history follows below.
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – Less than three seconds elapsed between the time a street protester fired a shot into the air and Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire with his rifle, a force expert on defense testified Thursday at Rittenhouse’s. homicide.
John Black took the stand as part of an effort by Rittenhouse’s lawyers to show that the then 17-year-old had reason to fear for his life and acted in self-defense when he shot three men and killed two during a turbulent night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha last year.
The defense has suggested to the jury that the relevant time frame for determining whether Rittenhouse’s use of force was reasonable consists of only a few minutes around the shootings.
Black said it took 2 minutes, 55 seconds, from the first man shot that night, Joseph Rosenbaum, chasing Rittenhouse across a parking lot, until Rittenhouse approached police after the shootings.
Prosecutors, for their part, have stressed a much longer window, saying the tragic chain of events took place over hours, starting with Rittenhouse’s fateful decision to go for a fleeting protest with a rifle.
Rittenhouse, now 18, committed the shootings during riots that erupted in Kenosha in the summer of 2020 over the wound of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer. He could face life in prison if convicted. Rittenhouse is white, just like the ones he shot.
Rittenhouse had been taken to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic weapon and a medical bag in what the former police and firefighter said was an attempt to protect property after rioters set fire to and searched businesses the previous nights.
The case has divided Americans over whether Rittenhouse was a patriot who took a stand against lawlessness or vigilance.
On Wednesday, Rittenhouse spent most of the day at the booth recounting what happened in the crazy minutes of August 25, 2020, sobbing so loudly at one point that the referee called for a break.
“I did not do anything wrong. I defended myself,” he said.
Rittenhouse testified that he heard a shot directly behind him when he was chased by Rosenbaum, but also that he never saw Rosenbaum with a gun. Authorities said the shot was a bullet fired into the air by another in the crowd.
On Thursday, Black testified that there was about 2 3/4 seconds between that shot and the first one fired by Rittenhouse.
In a report largely confirmed by video and prosecutors’ own witnesses, Rittenhouse said Rosenbaum took him into a corner and put his hand on the barrel of his rifle, the second man hit him with a skateboard, and the third man came towards him with a gun. its own.
His testimony was interrupted by an angry exchange of views in which his lawyers demanded a trial without the right to a retrial, in which they accused the chief prosecutor of asking Rittenhouse questions out of bounds.
District Judge Bruce Schroeder did not immediately rule on the request, although he was clearly angry with the prosecutor. On Thursday, he pressed on with the case, saying it would be ideal if the trial ended on Friday.
Much of the testimony has been centered on Rosenbaum’s killing since it set in motion the bloodshed that followed.
Rittenhouse said Rosenbaum carried a chain earlier in the night and had twice threatened to kill him.
“If I would have let Mr. Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would have used it and killed me with it,” he said, “and probably killed more people.”
During cross-examination on Wednesday, prosecutor Thomas Binger sought to drive the state’s claim that Rittenhouse created the dangerous situation initially home.
“You understand that pointing your AR-15 at someone can make them feel like you want to kill them, right?” asked Binger.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin; Webber from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press writers Amy Forliti contributed from Minneapolis and Kathleen Foody from Chicago.
Find the AP’s full coverage of the lawsuit against Kyle Rittenhouse at: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse
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