KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation Now) — A verdict has been reached in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teen charged over fatal shootings he committed during unrest in Kenosha last year.
The verdict will be read in open court. NewsNation will livestream the coverage in the player above.
Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz on Aug. 25, 2020 He faced multiple charges, including intentional homicide, recklessly endangering safety and attempted intentional homicide. He could get life in prison on the charges.
Unrest erupted in Kenosha in August 2020 over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white Kenosha police officer. Protests following the Blake shooting at times turned violent and destructive, with rioters setting fires and ransacking businesses.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, went to Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic weapon and a medic bag in what the former police and fire youth cadet said was an effort to protect property.
Just before midnight, Rittenhouse shot and killed Rosenbaum as Rosenbaum chased him across a parking lot. As Rittenhouse fled the scene, someone in the crowd tried to kick him in the face and Huber swung his skateboard at him, connecting with Rittenhouse’s head and neck. Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber. A moment later, Gaige Grosskreutz ran up to him holding a pistol. Rittenhouse shot him in the arm; Grosskreutz survived.
Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the three shootings, while his lawyer says Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
The case divided Americans over whether Rittenhouse was a patriot taking a stand against lawlessness or a vigilante.
The expected verdict comes after a dramatic trial that saw the defense demand a mistrial over what they argued were out-of-bounds questions asked of Rittenhouse by the chief prosecutor. The two weeks of testimony ended as Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, a misdemeanor that had appeared to be among the likeliest of the charges to net a conviction. It carries up to nine months in jail.
The defense argued that Wisconsin law has an exception related to the length of a weapon’s barrel. After prosecutors conceded Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, the judge threw out the charge.
In gamble, Rittenhouse testified at his trial, sobbing on the stand so hard at one point that the judge called a break, saying: “I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself.” Prosecutors in turn tried to paint him as an inexperienced teenager who misrepresented his age and medical training to other armed civilians in his group on the night of the shootings.