Jurors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Friday declared Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts, capping off an intense trial surrounding the deadly unrest in that city last summer.
Rittenhouse, 18, would have faced a mandatory life sentence if found guilty and convicted of first-degree intentional homicide.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better jury to work with and it has truly been my pleasure,” Judge Bruce Schroeder said after delivering the verdict. “I think, without commenting on your verdict, the verdicts themselves, just in terms of your attentiveness and the cooperation that you gave to us, justifies the confidence that the founders of our country placed in you so I dismiss you at this time.”
He continued: “You’re never under any obligation to discuss any aspect of this case with anyone. You’re welcome to do so as little or as much as you want.”
The verdict came on the fourth day of deliberations and 15th day of the trial.
Kyle Rittenhouse, center, pulls out his chair for a meeting Judge Bruce Schroeder called during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool) (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News)
Jurors deliberated for a total of 26 hours and found Rittenhouse not guilty on five counts including first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. Judge Bruce Schroeder had previously dismissed two additional counts related to his weapon.
Local officers, media and protesters were seen positioned around the Kenosha County Courthouse Friday.
Rittenhouse was facing charges of first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety after he fatally shot two people and injured a third person during the second night of civil unrest in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020.
Kenosha protesters on Nov. 19 (Fox News)
The judge tossed one charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 on Monday after Rittenhouse’s defense team argued that a subsection of the law concerning short-barreled rifles was grounds for dismissal.
His attorneys argued that the then-17-year-old was acting in self-defense after being attacked from behind when he shot Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, as well as deceased Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26 in the riots following the police shooting of a 29-year-old Black man, Jacob Blake.