Forensic pathologist testifies Kyle Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum at close range
On Tuesday, the State of Wisconsin rested its case in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. The 18-year-old shot three men, killing two of them, amid the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Jr. in Kenosha in August 2020.
The prosecution's final witness was Dr. Doug Kelley, a forensic pathologist with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office. He says based on the autopsy report, Joseph Rosenbaum was shot four times by someone who was within four feet of him. Rosenbaum was the first man Rittenhouse killed.
"Typically when you see gunpowder stippling, you're looking at a muzzle-to-target distance of a few feet. But again, it depends on whether you're talking about a handgun, a rifle or such,” Kelly said. “I would say that in this particular instance, we're talking about something within a few feet, within four feet or so.”
Kelley testified that Rosenbaum was first wounded in the groin, then in the hand and thigh, as he faced Rittenhouse. After that, Rosenbaum was shot in the head and in the back. Kelley testified the final two shots were at a downward angle.
“This is a close range injury, and so his hand is in close proximity or in contact with the end of that rifle,” Kelly said. “You can kind of think of it in your head. You know, if you put the end of the rifle close to that trajectory through his hand, you move the hand around. You can put it in different relationships to the body that can explain that.”
Prosecutors say Rosenbaum's position indicates he was falling forward. The defense says it shows Rosenbaum was lunging toward Rittenhouse.
Kelley says both scenarios were possible, and that he was only able to draw conclusions based on the autopsy.
After Kelley’s testimony, the defense began its case, calling several witnesses to the stand. While all the witnesses were in Kenosha the night of the shootings, many did not see them take place.
Rittenhouse faces five criminal charges, including two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.