Wisconsin Public Radio

Rittenhouse Could Face Lesser Homicide Charges

Judge might allow jury to consider second-degree homicide charges.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Nov 12th, 2021 04:05 pm
Kyle Rittenhouse. Photo from the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office Office

Kyle Rittenhouse. Photo from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office Office

The judge overseeing the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial said Friday he’s inclined to allow jurors to consider lesser charges against the Illinois teen who shot three people, killing two, during protests in Kenosha last year.

The judge’s final decision on the matter, which is expected to come this weekend, gives the jury more options if they’re unable to agree on homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangerment charges against Rittenhouse.

James Kraus and Thomas Binger, assistant district attorneys for Kenosha County, asked Judge Bruce Schroeder for a series of what are called lesser-included charges to be considered by jurors as they deliberate over Rittenhouse’s fate early next week.

After hours of debate Friday between prosecutors, Rittenhouse defense attorneys Corey Chirafisi and Mark Richards and the judge, Schroeder said he was inclined to allow a lesser-included charge of second-degree intentional homicide, in addition to a first-degree intentional homicide charge, related to Rittenhouse’s killing of Anthony Huber. Schroeder said he was also inclined to allowed lesser-included charges of attempted second-degree homicide and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, in addition to first-degree intentional homicide, in relation to Rittenhouse’s shooting and wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz.

The judge said he was inclined to include a lesser-included charge of second-degree recklessly endangering safety in addition to a first-degree recklessly endangering safety charge relating to Rittenhouse shooting toward a reporter that night.

Schroeder also said he plans to submit a provocation instruction to the jury in the reckless homicide charge for the Rosenbaum killing after watching drone footage prosecutors argued showed Rittenhouse raising his rifle toward the man just before Rosenbaum chased the teen and was shot.

“My decision will be to submit the case to the jury with the provocation instruction. And you can argue the strength or lack of strength of the respective evidence,” said Schroeder.

The Associated Press reported Schroeder will make his final ruling on the lesser-included charges and juror instructions on Saturday. Jurors will be given instructions on Monday.

Former Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Adams said the second-degree intentional homicide charge tied to Huber’s death gives the prosecution and jurors more options.

“I think there is an argument that starting with second-degree intentional homicide on one of the counts is basically warranted, given that the government is basically saying that this was imperfect, self-defense in that while Rittenhouse himself believed he had to use this force, that was objectively unreasonable, which would be second-degree intentional homicide,” said Adams.

Governor activates National Guard troops as jury deliberations set to begin

Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday he would activate approximately 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops in Kenosha Monday “to support local partners in ensuring public safety in conjunction with hundreds of officers from volunteering law enforcement agencies.”

“The Kenosha community has been strong, resilient, and has come together through incredibly difficult times these past two years, and that healing is still ongoing,” said Evers. “I urge folks who are otherwise not from the area to please respect the community by reconsidering any plans to travel there and encourage those who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights to do so safely and peacefully.”

Trial began last week

The defense rested its case late Thursday in the trial.

Rittenhouse, 18, faces multiple felony charges of homicide and recklessly endangering the safety of others, along with one misdemeanor count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor. If convicted, Rittenhouse could face life in prison.

His lawyers have argued Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense on Aug. 25, 2020, when he killed Rosenbaum, 36, and Huber, 26, and wounded Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse testified for more than five hours Wednesday, becoming emotional and saying he feared for his life when he fired his rifle shooting three men and killing two.

Prosecutors spent hours cross-examining Rittenhouse, pressing him on every detail of the shootings in an effort to characterize him as the aggressor.

Rittenhouse arrived in Kenosha on the third day of protests following the police shooting in August 2020 of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was left paralyzed. Blake was shot by Kenosha police Aug. 23, 2020. The shooting sparked days of protests in Kenosha’s downtown and uptown neighborhoods. The protests turned destructive, with cars and buildings torched.

Rittenhouse traveled across the border from Illinois in response to a social-media call from a Kenosha-based militia group saying it hoped to protect businesses from protesters, Kenosha Police Detective Martin Howard testified last week.

The trial began last week.

Judge indicates he might allow lesser charges in Rittenhouse homicide trial was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

4 thoughts on “Rittenhouse Could Face Lesser Homicide Charges”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    I hope that Rittenhouse gets life in prison without parole as a deterrent to anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps… but I think this corrupt judge will probably sentence him to less than 5 years in prison…

    Rittenhouse’s disregard for human life and the judge’s obvious attempts to protect Rittenhouse are more examples of America flowing down the last 10 foot section of sewer pipe until plops into the septic tank…

  2. GodzillakingMKE says:

    And the judge is doing what he can to make it a mistrial to get the boy murderer off.

  3. GodzillakingMKE says:

    It’s like the judge is trying to get this white supremacist terrorist off.

  4. Duane says:

    Jeez, Judge Schroeder even dismisses the misdemeanor gun charge. Unreal.

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