After the last word from the lawyers, the jury Kyle Rittenhouse takes over

After the last word from the lawyers, the jury Kyle Rittenhouse takes over

Kenosha, Wes. – Kyle Rittenhouse sparked the bloodshed on the streets of Kenosha by bringing in a semi-automatic rifle and threatening others, and when the shooting stopped, he walked away like a “hero in the West,” the prosecutor said in closing arguments Monday in the Rittenhouse murder trial.

Thomas Binger told the jury, “You lose the right to self-defense when you are the one who brought the gun, when you are the one who creates the danger, when you are the one who provokes others.”

Binger repeatedly showed the jury a drone video that he said depicted Rittenhouse aiming an AR rifle at protesters in the streets.

“This is the provocation. This is what started this incident,” the prosecutor declared.

Rittenhouse, now 18, killed two men and wounded a third during a tumultuous night of protests against racial injustice in the summer of 2020, in a case that has sparked a bitter debate in the United States over guns, vigilance, and law and order.

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Rittenhouse said he feared for his life and was acting in his own defense. Prosecutors sought to portray him as the aggressor bearing responsibility for the bloodshed.

Binger focused on the murder of 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum, who was the first man to be shot that night and whose shooting set off the ensuing bloodshed. The prosecutor has repeatedly called it “murder,” saying it was unjustified.

The attorney general reminded jurors that Rittenhouse testified that he knew Rosenbaum was unarmed. Binger also said that there is no video to support the defense’s allegations that Rosenbaum threatened to kill Rittenhouse.

Binger disputed the idea that Rosenbaum was trying to seize the Rittenhouse rifle. “Mr. Rosenbaum isn’t even within reach when the first shot happens,” said Binger. He dismissed the idea that Rittenhouse had no choice but to shoot, saying he could have escaped.

Binger argued that once Rosenbaum was wounded, he was not even able to remove the gun, which was strapped to Rittenhouse’s body, because it was falling to the ground with a broken pelvis. Rittenhouse continued to shoot, delivering what the prosecutor called a “kill shot” to Rosenbaum’s back.

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“I think we can also agree that we shouldn’t have 17-year-olds running our streets with AR-15s, because that is exactly what happens,” Binger said.

The young man from Antioch, Illinois, faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the most serious charge against him, first-degree murder.

After killing Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Hopper, 26, and wounded Gigi Grosskreutz, 28. But he testified that Rosenbaum chased after him and grabbed his gun, that Hopper hit him with a skateboard, and Groskreutz came in with his own rifle — an account largely corroborated by a raft of videos and some prosecution witnesses.

Binger said Rittenhouse also caused the bloodshed that followed the shooting of Rosenbaum: Hopper, Grosskreutz, and others in the crowd were trying to stop what they thought was an active shooter, exercising their right to self-defense.

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When it was all over, Rittenhouse walked away like “a hero in the West — with no interest in the world for anything he had just done,” said Binger, adding, “This is someone who has no regrets, doesn’t care about life, just cares about himself.”

When the attorney general showed a photo of Rosenbaum’s bloodied corpse lying on a stretcher during his autopsy and of Rosenbaum’s mutilated hand, some jurors seemed to be distracted from the television screens.

While speaking, Binger walked into the jury box and raised the actual gun used in the shooting as if he was shooting, the prosecutor looked at its barrel and pointed it at the courtroom wall.

Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he traveled a few miles from his home to Kenosha on August 25, 2020, as the city was in the midst of violent protests that erupted after a white police officer shot and wounded Jacob Blake, a black man. Rittenhouse said he went there to protect the property.

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His supporters hailed him as a hero who took a stand against lawlessness. His opponents described him as a vigilante.

Binger began his closing arguments by telling the jury that Rittenhouse had nothing to do with the work he said would protect her that night, ran with an assault rifle, and lied about being an emergency medical technician.

“Does this suggest to you that he is really there to help?” asked Binger.

Each side was given two and a half hours to present its case to the jury before deliberations began. The defense was expected to deliver its closing argument this afternoon.

Earlier on Monday, Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under the age of 18, a misdemeanor that appeared to be among the most likely charges to convict prosecutors.

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A minor weapon charge carries a prison sentence of up to nine months.

But the defense argued that Wisconsin law has an exception regarding barrel length. After prosecutors acknowledged on Monday that Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, the judge dismissed the charge.

Public interest in closing arguments was evident in the morning, when more people queued outside Courtroom 209 for a seat.

Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, listened intently in court during the jury’s instructions.

Rittenhouse is white, as are the three men he shot. The issue polarized Americans, raising questions about racial justice, vigilance, the Second Amendment to the right to bear arms, and white privilege.

Perhaps recognizing the weaknesses in their case, prosecutors asked the judge to allow the jury to consider several fewer charges if they cleared him of the original charges. Schroeder agreed to do so on Monday as he released 36-page instructions to the jury, outlining the charges and self-defense laws.

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In the Hopper murder case, the judge said that if jurors find Rittenhouse not guilty of first-degree murder, they can assess whether he is guilty of second-degree murder. If he’s not guilty of that charge, they can decide whether he’s guilty of reckless first-degree murder.

In his instructions, the judge said that in order to determine that Rittenhouse acted lawfully in self-defence, the jury must find that he believed there was an unlawful threat to him and that the amount of force he used was reasonable and necessary.

After closing arguments, the names were to be drawn to determine which 12 of the 18 jurors who had heard the testimony would deliberate, with the rest dismissed as an alternative.

With sentencing looming, Governor Tony Evers said 500 National Guard members would be willing to serve in Kenosha if local law enforcement asked them to.

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This story has been updated to correct Gaige Grosskreutz’s age to 28.

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Bauer reported from Madison and Forletty reported from Minneapolis. Associated Press contributing writer Tammy Webber of Fenton, Michigan.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the Rittenhouse experience: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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