A Kenosha County court commissioner has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for Kyle Rittenhouse. He’s the 17-year-old white Illinois teenager accused of killing two men during a night of unrest in Kenosha, which followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black.
Rittenhouse is charged with six counts, including homicide and attempted homicide, for fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz on Aug. 25.
During a preliminary hearing conducted by video Thursday, Kenosha Police detective Benjamin Antaramian testified. He said the police investigation showed Rittenhouse shot and killed Rosenbaum. The detective described what happened next, as Rittenhouse left the scene.
“As he was running northbound there was a crowd chasing after him. He ends up stumbling in the roadway after being struck in the head. When he's on the ground, a subject attempts to kick him in the head. He then fired two rounds in the air towards that subject, missing. Another subject approached him with a skateboard and another shot was fired. That subject is identified as Anthony Huber. That gunshot subsequently killed him," Antaramian said.
Rittenhouse told police he was attacked while guarding someone's business and that he fired in self-defense.
During the Thursday hearing, defense attorney Mark Richards showed the court screenshots from bystander videos to try to bolster Rittenhouse’s claim.
Richards: “(I’m) showing you what's been marked as exhibit 12. Mr. Grosskreutz in his right hand, you can clearly see a firearm, correct?”
Antaramian: “Yes, sir."
Richards: “He's pointing it at my client."
Antaramian: “Correct. It appears so on that picture, sir.”
Richards: “Okay. And my client fires one shot. You can see that Mr. Grosskreutz arm is here, correct?”
Antaramian: “Yes, sir."
The photos also showed Rittenhouse running from another protester who had a gun, and then lying on the ground as Huber struck him with a skateboard.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger argued that self-defense is an issue for trial, not a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution has to prove that there’s probable cause Rittenhouse committed a felony – not disprove a self-defense claim. Binger argued the state did that.
“Your Honor, I believe the evidence in this case, preliminary hearing has established probable cause that the defendant committed a felony on August 25, 2020. The evidence indicates that the defendant shot and killed two individuals and shot and wounded and another, which forms the basis for any number of felonies under our laws," Binger said.
Court Commissioner Loren Keating agreed the case should proceed. “Based upon the testimony presented today by the detective, I do find the state has demonstrated probable cause,” said Keating, "and in this case, felonies were committed relating to the counts in the complaint. I bind over as such, that probable cause further exists that this defendant committed those felonies."
The defense had also brought a motion to dismiss two counts – not the homicides or attempted homicide. The court denied those requests.
The case is now headed before Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder. Rittenhouse will be arraigned Jan. 5.