Prosecutors on Monday said during closing arguments that Kyle Rittenhouse was an active shooter who had “no regard for life.” Rittenhouse’s defense team disputed that, saying the teen was acting in self-defense.
Rittenhouse, 18, who formerly resided in Antioch, is facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Rittenhouse’s defense team on Monday morning requested that Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder dismiss count 6, possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
Prosecutors objected to the request and Schroeder granted the dismissal of the charge due to state law that says people ages 16 and 17 can carry long-barreled rifles, but not short-barreled rifles.
Earlier in the trial, Schroeder dismissed Rittenhouse’s count 7, failure to comply with an emergency management order.
Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger started his closing argument on Monday by pointing out Rittenhouse killed two unarmed men on August 25, 2020.
Binger praised Anthony Huber, the second man fatally shot by Rittenhouse house, as a person who “rushed toward danger to save other people’s lives.”
Binger repeatedly criticized Rittenhouse for falsely claiming to be an EMT. He then showed the jury drone video of the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum.
Binger said that Rittenhouse provoked the incident when he dropped the fire extinguisher and pointed his rifle at other people.
Binger physically demonstrated the action to the jurors.
“If you’re the one who’s threatening others, you lose the right to claim self-defense,” Binger said.
Binger proceeded to show the jury video from an FBI surveillance plane and video from Frank Hernandez, who testified on Thursday.
Binger said that a crowd of people chased Rittenhouse because they were trying to stop an active shooter.
“I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that in this situation, the crowd has the right to try and stop an active shooter. They have a right to protect themselves. The defendant is not the only one in the world who has the right to self-defense,” Binger told the jury.
Binger described Rittenhouse as “some sort of hero in the western” when he walked toward police after shooting Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz.
Binger told the jury Rittenhouse never tried to render medical aid to any of the men he shot.
“The defendant offers no assistance, makes no attempt to try and help anyone else. All he cares about is himself.”
Binger emphasized that those who were chasing Rittenhouse were heroes who were trying to stop an active shooter.
“That crowd was full of heroes. That crowd did something that, honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve had the courage to do,” Binger said.
Binger also described Rittenhouse as a “fraud” for lying about being a certified EMT.
Binger concluded his argument by telling the jury, “No reasonable person would’ve done what the defendant did, and that makes your decision easy. He’s guilty of all counts.”
Mark Richards, Rittenhouse’s lead attorney, gave the closing argument for the defense side after Binger concluded his closing arguments.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this case is not a game. It is my client’s life,” Richards told the jury.
Richards called Rosenbaum a “rioter” who was causing trouble.
“Mr. Rosenbaum was shot because he was chasing my client and going to kill him, take his gun and carry out the threats he made,” Richards said.
Richards described the crowd chasing Rittenhouse as a “mob.”
Richards rebutted Binger’s claim that Rittenhouse was an active shooter by arguing Rittenhouse ran away to the police.
“The state wants to call my client an active shooter. And the reason they want to do that is because of the loaded connotations of that word.”
“Kyle was not an active shooter. That is a buzzword that the state wants to lash onto because it excuses the actions of that mob on the 25th of 2020,” Richards said.
Richards said his team gave federal authorities access to search Rittenhouse’s phone. He says nothing incriminating against Rittenhouse was found.
Richards said Rittenhouse had as much right to go anywhere in downtown Kenosha just like everyone else.
“He’s not doing anything wrong. He’s not doing anything to provoke anybody,” Richards told the jury.
Richards said Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum until the “threat was immobilized.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, other people in this community have shot somebody seven times, and it’s been found to be okay. My client did it four times in three-quarters of a second to protect his life from Mr. Rosenbaum,” Richards said.
Richards used a tape measure to demonstrate to the jury how close of a distance four feet is when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum.
Richards added that Rittenhouse testified because he was willing to tell his side of the story to the jury.
“This is a political case,” Richards said. “The district’s attorney’s office is marching forward with this case because they need somebody to be responsible.”
Richards concluded his argument by telling the jury, “Every person who was shot was attacking Kyle. One with a skateboard, one with his hands, 0ne with his feet, one with his gun.”
Assistant District Attorney James Kraus gave the jury a rebuttal argument.
Kraus emphasized how Rosenbaum was not a threat because he was smaller than Rittenhouse.
Kraus said Rittenhouse was scaring and intimidating others using his rifle on that night.
“The only imminent threat that night was Mr. Rittenhouse. He was not acting in legal, justified self-defense. He’s guilty,” Kraus said before ending his rebuttal.
Jury deliberation is set to begin Tuesday after 12 jurors are randomly selected.
Jurors will return Tuesday at 9 a.m.