Kyle Rittenhouse was not charged with having a dangerous weapon because he is under 18. A charge can be a misdemeanor. It is not a serious crime. But the person was 17 when he killed people with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in Kenosha in August 2020.
If someone has a rifle or shotgun that is short-barrel, they are not allowed to have it. But the defense argued that Wisconsin’s law said there was an exception for this. On Monday, prosecutors admitted that Rittenhouse’s rifle was not short-barreled. So the judge threw out the charge.
The ruling came before lawyers were set to give their closing arguments. Rittenhouse, 18, is from Illinois. He faces charges ranging from homicide to weapons charges. If he is convicted of any charge that could result in jail time, he will go to jail for a few months.
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Today, more people than usual stood in line outside Courtroom 209 to get into that courtroom. The first one in line was a man wearing a red hat and coat with silver glitter. Outside, someone put up a cutout of Rittenhouse, and there was also an upside-down American flag waving on the corner.
Rittenhouse was 17 years old, and he went from his house to Kenosha on August 25, 2020. The city was in a bad state because of some protests. They were caused by a white police officer who shot and injured a Black man named Jacob Blake.
A video from a bystander showed the incident when Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were killed and Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, was wounded.
Rittenhouse is white. And he shot three other white people. There were discussions about whether the shootings were fair, if it was right to shoot them, and if there is a privilege for whites.
Rittenhouse says he was shot because he was scared for his life. The prosecutor has to prove that Rittenhouse’s fear was unreasonable. Some people watching the trial said the prosecution struggled.
Maybe prosecutors saw that it might not be possible to find the original person guilty. So they asked to let the jury consider lesser charges if they can’t find him guilty of those first ones. The judge said he would allow some of those lesser charges if he gave instructions on Monday.