On Monday (November 15), closing arguments commenced with Defense attorney Mark Richards defending Rittenhouse, arguing that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he killed two people and wounded another during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer. "Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle," Richards said, according to CNN.
In prosecutors' rebuttal, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney James Kraus called Rittenhouse's use of deadly force, to the alleged threats against his life, unreasonable.
"It certainly cannot be reasonable for someone to be holding an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with powerful ammunition and be chased by someone who is unarmed who's smaller than him, who's shorter than him and the first thing you do to defend yourself is you plug four rounds into him," Kraus told the court. He added, "The standard is the defendant may intentionally use force, which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm, such as firing an AR-15, only if the defendant reasonably believed that the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself."
Kraus additionally argued that Rittenhouse should have "exhausted all methods" of self-defense before shooting, CNN reported. "Punch him in the face, kick him in the testicles, knee him in the face, hit him with your gun," the attorney said, per the outlet. "You don't just immediately get to shoot someone ... It is not reasonable for any adult ... to not try and defend yourself first using other methods."
Following the end of closing arguments, Judge Bruce Schroeder told the jury to "determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty as to each of the offenses charged or submitted." He continued, "You will disregard the claims or opinions of any other person or news media or social networking site. You will pay no heed to the opinions of anyone — even the President of the United States or the President before him."
Ahead of Monday's closing arguments, Judge Schroeder made the decision to dismiss one of Rittenhouse's misdemeanor gun charges. Chicago Tribune Columnist Rex Huppke reported that Schroeder dismissed the charge "because Rittenhouse's gun had a longer barrel than the type detailed in Wisconsin state law."
"So apparently his gun was too big to be illegal? The chances of Rittenhouse walking just increased a good bit," Huppke added.
With this dismissal, Rittenhouse avoids a fine of up to $10,000 and nine months in prison. According to CNN, the 18-year-old shooter still faces the following five felony charges:
- First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
- Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a weapon
- First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
- First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon [2 Counts]
If convicted of the most serious of the five charges, intentional homicide, the 18-year-old could spend the remainder of his life behind bars. However, several legal experts are beginning to predict that the teenage shooter will likely avoid serious jail time.
Deliberations in the Kyle Rittenhouse case will begin on Tuesday. Deliberation in a case of this magnitude could last days or even weeks. In the meantime, thousands of Kenosha County residents and millions of Americans will wait patiently as the verdict is determined.
In preparation for the verdict, state and local officials have deployed 500 National Guard Troops to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Governor Tony Evers believes deploying more officers will help keep people "safe."
“We continue to be in close contact with our partners at the local level to ensure the state provides support and resources to help keep the Kenosha community and greater area safe,” Evers said, according to KSTP.
“We stand ready to support our communities during times of need. In close coordination with the governor, we have assembled approximately 500 Soldiers to help keep the Kenosha community safe, should a request from our local partners come in," Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp added.
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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
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The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
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