Kyle Rittenhouse — the Illinois teenager facing multiple felony murder charges for fatally shooting two men and wounding another during Black Lives Matter riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year — will testify during his own trial, his attorney suggested on Tuesday.
What are the details?
During opening arguments at the Kenosha County Courthouse Tuesday morning, defense attorney Mark Richards said that Rittenhouse would take the stand and discuss why he feared for his life, Reuters reported.
One of those references, according to Fox News, came when Richards told the jury they would hear testimony “not just from Kyle Rittenhouse” but from another individual who the attorney said would be testifying at trial.
The revelation, if true, would increase the drama in the highly anticipated case, which is being closely watched by much of the country, though Richards did not go into any further detail about his apparent plans for Rittenhouse's testimony.
Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Defense presents its opening statement | FOX6 News Milwaukee
What's the background?
The defense team has insisted for months that Rittenhouse — who was 17 years old when the shootings occurred on Aug. 25, 2020 — acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gage Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse reportedly brought a gun to Kenosha that night to protect local businesses against looting and ransacking as rioters took to the streets in response to a white police officer's shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man.
Videos of the incidents seen by the public appear to show each of the supposed victims advancing on Rittenhouse when they were shot.
But in the prosecution's opening statement, assistant district attorney Thomas Binger argued the defendant acted more like a moth “to a flame” when he was “drawn to the chaos” of Kenosha before he needlessly killed Rosenbaum and Huber.
“Out of the hundreds of people that came to Kenosha during that week, the hundreds of people that were out on the streets that week, the evidence will show that the only person that killed anyone was the defendant, Kyle Rittenhouse,” Binger pressed.
Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Prosecution opening statement | FOX6 News Milwaukee
The trial, though it only began recently, has already produced a fair bit of drama.
Last week, the judge presiding over the case, Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, ruled that prosecutors can't refer to the three men that Rittenhouse shot as “victims,” though defense attorneys can call them “rioters” or “looters.”
Then during jury selection on Monday, Schroeder criticized what he called a “vast amount” of “irresponsible and sloppy journalism” surrounding the case.
Rittenhouse has been charged with a litany of crimes for his actions in Kenosha, including first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree intentional homicide, as well as attempted first-degree intentional homicide. If convicted, he would serve a mandatory life sentence in prison.
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