Jury deliberations in murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse began Tuesday in the midwestern U.S. city of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse is charged with the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz during a chaotic night of protests in August 2020 against racial injustice in Kenosha.
The protests were sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was left paralyzed from the waist down.
In closing arguments Monday, prosecutors said Rittenhouse, then 17, provoked bloodshed by bringing a semi-automatic rifle to a protest and menacing others, then walking off like a “hero in a Western” after the killings of Rosenbaum and Huber and the wounding of Grosskreutz.
Rittenhouse’s lawyer said his client, who has pleaded not guilty, acted in self-defense after being ambushed by a “crazy person” he feared would take away his gun and use it to kill him.
The trial has rekindled intense debate in the U.S. over gun ownership, vigilantism and law and order, as well as memories of the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.
Rittenhouse faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, the most serious of the charges.