Lawyers for a youngster accused of killing three people in Wisconsin during civic unrest last year have requested a mistrial.
After the court sharply scolded prosecutors for playing seemingly inadmissible material, Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense requested for the case to be dismissed.
Mr. Rittenhouse, 18, had cried in court before taking the stand.
He stated that on August 25, 2020, in the streets of Kenosha, he murdered two guys and injured a third in self-defense.
After fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, Mr Rittenhouse is charged with deliberate and reckless homicide, reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a handgun. He might be sentenced to life in jail.
Riots erupted on the city’s streets two days earlier after a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by police. Mr Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, claimed he traveled to the city from Illinois with a semi-automatic weapon in hand to assist defend property from turmoil on the streets.
Why A Mistrial?
On the seventh day of the trial, chief prosecutor Thomas Binger and Judge Bruce Schroeder squabbled noisily in the courtroom. The court was outraged at Mr Binger’s inquiry concerning Mr Rittenhouse’s decision to keep silent until now, as is his right.
“That is basic legislation, and it has been for the past 40 or 50 years in our nation. I’m not sure why you’d do anything like that “According to the court. “I’m not sure what you’re up to.”
Judge Schroeder also accused the prosecutor of breaking pre-trial orders by adding evidence that the judge had deemed irrelevant to the case – a video taken two weeks before the killings in which Mr Rittenhouse joked about shooting guys he suspected were shoplifters at a drugstore.
Judge Schroeder warned the prosecutor, “Don’t become brash with me.” “You are well aware that an attorney cannot get into these sorts of topics after the court has already ruled without first seeking permission from the judge outside the presence of the jury.”
“I don’t trust you when you say you were operating in good faith,” the judge continued.
Defense lawyers claimed “prosecutorial overreach” and requested a mistrial with prejudice, which would prevent Mr Rittenhouse from being retried.
On Wednesday, Judge Schroeder did not decide on the request, but agreed to take it “under advisement” pending the prosecution team’s future behavior.
Corey Chirafasi, the lead defense attorney, even indicated that prosecutors were hoping for a mistrial since the case was “going terribly” for them.
What Did Kyle Rittenhouse Have To Say?
Mr Rittenhouse, who took the stand in a dangerous legal move for any defendant in a murder trial, said: “I didn’t make any mistakes. I stood up for myself.”
He claimed he was going towards a used car dealer’s forecourt with a fire extinguisher in hand to put out a fire when he heard someone cry, “Burn in hell!”
The gun-toting teen can be seen on video saying to the throng, “friendly, friendly, friendly.” He claimed he began running after hearing “get him” yells.
He stated of Mr Rosenbaum, the first person he shot, “The one who assaulted me initially threatened to murder me.”
He told the jury that he thought Mr Rosenbaum was carrying a chain with him at one point, but that it was subsequently discovered to be a plastic bag.
After Mr Rittenhouse began to detail to the jury the circumstances leading up to the deadly gunshots, the judge called for a pause. In the gallery, his mother was also seen weeping.
When he returned to the witness stand, the youngster said that he had nowhere to flee at the moment, later adding: “I had no intention of killing anyone. I meant to stop the individual who was attempting to murder me and steal my weapon.”
As he is chased, the adolescent falls to the ground, according to video from the scene. As numerous guys rushed on him, Mr Rittenhouse stated that he was afraid for his life. Mr Rosenbaum allegedly put his hand on the defendant’s firearm, prompting him to shoot and kill him.
Mr Huber, the second person he shot, allegedly struck him with his skateboard and attempted to steal his firearm, according to Mr Rittenhouse.
Mr Grosskreutz, the guy he shot in the arm, had also approached him with a gun pointing at his head, according to him.
Mr Grosskreutz said this week that when he drew his own revolver and advanced on Mr Rittenhouse, he assumed he was dealing with a “active shooter.”
Prosecutors said Mr Rittenhouse was a vigilante out to murder everyone he shot that night.
Prosecutor Thomas Binger questioned the teen’s eligibility to own a gun and put doubt on the depth of his medical expertise during a tense cross-examination.