Judge Keeps Weapons Charge Against Rittenhouse

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
October 6, 2021US News
Judge Keeps Weapons Charge Against Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse listens during his pretrial hearing at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S. on May 21, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/Kenosha News/Pool via REUTERS)

A judge refused to dismiss a weapons charge Tuesday against an Illinois man accused of shooting three people during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin last year.

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz during the protest in Kenosha.

Prosecutors charged Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the protest, with multiple counts, including homicide and being a minor in possession of a firearm. His trial is set to begin Nov. 1.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys have argued that he fired in self-defense after Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz attacked him.

They asked Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder to dismiss the weapon possession charge during a hearing Tuesday.

Corey Chirafisi, one of Rittenhouse’s attorneys, argued that the statute only prohibits minors from possessing short-barreled rifles.

Rittenhouse used an AR-style semiautomatic rifle with a 16-inch barrel the night of the shootings, according to Chirafisi.

The only other prohibitions on minors possessing firearms lie in the state’s hunting statutes, which state that children under 12 can’t hunt with guns.

That doesn’t apply to Rittenhouse because he was 17 on the night of the shootings, Chirafisi said.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger countered that the Legislature clearly intended to bar anyone under 18 from “running around with a dangerous weapon” and that the hunting statutes don’t apply because Rittenhouse wasn’t hunting on the night of the protest.

Schroeder sided with Binger, but he said he might revisit the question later because the statutes aren’t clear.

The attorneys also sparred over whether to allow John Black, an expert on the use of force by police, to testify for the defense at the trial.

Binger maintained that it wasn’t necessary and that jurors could decide for themselves whether Rittenhouse’s actions were reasonable.

Richards argued that Black could help jurors get to the facts.

Schroeder allowed Black to testify during the hearing to get an idea of what he would present at the trial.

Black asserted that Rittenhouse maintained control of his gun at all times, tried to move away from Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz, and only fired when he was attacked.

He noted that Huber hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard and Grosskreutz approached him with a pistol in his hand.

Schroeder took a lunch break before allowing Binger to cross-examine Black.

Prosecutors also were looking for permission to introduce a video showing Rittenhouse saying he’d like to shoot some men he thought were shoplifting from a pharmacy 15 days before the protest.

Schroeder said last month that he was leaning toward excluding it. It wasn’t clear if he would rule on that request Tuesday.

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