NOTE: NBC Chicago will provide a live feed from the courtroom as available throughout the trial. Watch live in the player above. Warning that some of the content and images shown during the trial may be graphic and disturbing for some viewers.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations Tuesday at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial after two weeks of testimony in which prosecutors and defense attorneys painted starkly different pictures of his actions the night he shot three men on the streets of Kenosha.
The jury will convene following a day in which members heard hours of closing arguments by the prosecutors and defense as well as the prosecutors’ rebuttal. They’ll be considering several charges against the now-18-year-old Rittenhouse, including the possibility of lesser charges announced Monday.
Court is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday when Judge Bruce Schroeder will reduce the number of jurors from 18 to 12. He’s expected to draw names out of a tumbler in much the same way lottery numbers are chosen.
The six extra jurors will be kept inside the building in case they are needed.
Rittenhouse, now 18, was in Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to protect property from the damaging protests that broke out over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.
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While Rittenhouse is white, as were those he shot, the case has stirred debate over vigilantism, the right to bear arms and the unrest that erupted around the U.S. that summer over the killing of George Floyd and other police violence against Black people.
Wisconsin’s self-defense law allows someone to use deadly force only if “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” The jury must decide whether Rittenhouse believed he was in such peril and whether that belief was reasonable under the circumstances.
LIVE COVERAGE: A live feed of Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial is available when court is in session.
Here are the latest updates as the case unfolds before the jury. (This will be updated as court resumes Tuesday)
— Judge released jury for the day at approximately 5:56 p.m. and announced deliberations will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
— Prosecution began rebuttal to defense closing arguments at approximately 4:53 p.m.
— Mark Richards started his closing arguments by attacking the men Kyle Rittenhouse killed. “This case is not a game,” Richards told the jury. “It is my client’s life.”
“We don’t play fast and loose,” he said, “pretending Mr. Rosenbaum was citizen A number one guy…he was a bad man…he was there…he was causing trouble…he was a rioter and my client had to deal with him that night alone.”
— Mark Richards compared the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum to that of Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by a white police officer sparked the Kenosha unrest.
“Other people in this community have shot people seven times,” he said, “and it’s been found to be OK… My client did it four times to protect his life from Mr. Rosenbaum.”
“I’m sorry, that’s what happened,” he said.
— “There is no doubt the defendant committed these crimes,” Prosecutor Thomas Binger told the jury as he wrapped up his closing arguments.
“No reasonable person would have done what the defendant did and that makes your decision easy,” he said. “He is guilty of all counts.”
After a 20 minute break, the defense will begin its closings. When they conclude, prosecutors will get a half hour to rebut the points brought up during that closing. As it is the prosecution’s burden to prove Rittenhouse guilty, they get the last word.
— Prosecutor Binger quickly gets to the heart of his argument.
“When the defendant provokes the incident, he loses the right to self defense,” he tells the jury. “You cannot claim self defense over a danger you create.”
— Prosecutor Thomas Binger has begun his closing arguments in the case against Kyle Rittenhouse.
“I think we can all agree, we shouldn’t have 17-year-olds running around with AR-15s, because this is what happens,” he tells the jury.
— Judge halts the reading of jury instructions for a conference on the lesser charges. He wants them not to consider the lesser charges if they agree, guilty or not guilty, on the more significant charge. Prosecutions says that’s not the law.
— In the instructions regarding the homicide charge against Rittenhouse, the judge cautions the jury: “you should make every reasonable effort to unanimously agree on the charge of first degree intentional homicide before moving on to the second.”
— Jury instructions begin. This will take about 45 minutes. They are hearing first about the law regarding self defense.
— The judge at Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial has dismissed a count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
The charge is only a misdemeanor, but it had appeared to be among the likeliest to net a conviction for prosecutors. There’s no dispute that Rittenhouse was 17 when he carried an AR-style semi-automatic rifle on the streets of Kenosha in August 2020 and used it to kill two men and wound a third.
But the defense argued that Wisconsin’s statute had an exception that could be read to clear Rittenhouse. That exception involves whether or not a rifle or shotgun is short-barreled.
After prosecutors conceded in court Monday that Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled, Judge Schroeder dismissed the charge.