The attorneys in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial have begun their closing arguments Monday in the case that has Kenosha, Wisconsin, bracing for violence ahead of jury deliberations.
Rittenhouse, 18, of Antioch, Illinois, is charged with killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and for wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, in the city of Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020.
The shootings occurred during tumultuous protests that broke out following the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he traveled across the state border with a semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit and claimed that he was trying to protect businesses from the arson, rioting, and looting plaguing the city.
The jury heard how Rittenhouse shot and killed Rosenbaum in an initial confrontation in the streets and moments later fatally shot Huber and wounded Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse, who has pleaded not guilty, faces charges ranging from intentional homicide — which carries a life sentence — to an underage weapons charge that could send him to jail for a few months if convicted.
Prosecutors have sought to portray him as the aggressor of the shootings, describing to the jury how out of all the people in Kenosha that night, he was the only one to shoot people.
Meanwhile, his attorneys argued that he acted in self-defense and only pulled the trigger on those who provoked him during the protests.
Rittenhouse lost his composure on the stand as he testified in his own defense for more than six hours, sobbing at one point as he described hearing a gunshot from behind him as he was being chased through the street by Rosenbaum.
“I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me by killing them,” the teen said.
Following closing arguments, names were to be drawn to determine which 12 of the 18 jurors will try to reach a consensus on whether he is innocent or guilty of the charges.
With a possible verdict looming, Gov. Tony Evers said that 500 National Guard members have been activated in preparation.