A jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty Friday on all charges stemming from the 2020 shootings that killed two people and severely injured another during chaotic protests against racial injustice in Kenosha, Wis according to multiple media outlets across the world such as CBC News.
The jury delivered its verdict Friday afternoon, after three and a half days of deliberation following the high-profile, three-week murder trial. As the verdict was read aloud, Rittenhouse reacted by falling to the ground briefly before crying and hugging his defense attorney.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he carried an AR-style semiautomatic rifle on the streets of Kenosha during a turbulent protest against racial injustice in the summer of 2020 and opened fire on demonstrators, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and seriously wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.
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He was charged with five felony counts stemming from the shootings, including first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, but Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder agreed to drop the weapons charge when defense attorneys argued that the teenager could be cleared under a hunting exemption to Wisconsin law, which does not permit the sale of a firearm to anyone under the age of 18. Among the witnesses prosecutors called to testify was Rittenhouse’s friend Dominick Black, who said he purchased the gun used in the shootings.
Rittenhouse, now 18, pleaded not guilty to all the charges, arguing that he acted in self-defense by opening fire on demonstrators who, he claimed, were trying to attack him.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself,” Rittenhouse said during his own lengthy and, at times, emotional testimony last week.