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.”
Rittenhouse spokesperson Dave Hancock told Fox News that “it’s clear as day” Rittenhouse “defended himself.”
“I believe they were cerebral and they thought about every piece of the jury instructions,” he said. “So, justice was done for Kyle. He gets to live life as a free young man.”
Rittenhouse attorney Marc Richards that he represents “clients,” not “causes,” and that if the 18-year-old “wanted somebody to go off on a crusade,” he wouldn’t represent him in the case. He added that he was “afraid of a compromise.”
The verdict came on the fourth day of deliberations and 15th day of the trial.
“The jury has represented our community in this trial and has spoken,” Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said Friday after the verdict.
He added in a later statement: We are grateful to the members of the jury for their diligent and thoughtful deliberations. The Kenosha community has endured much over the past 15 months and yet we remain resilient and strong. We ask that the members of our community continue express their opinions and feelings about this verdict in a civil and peaceful manner.”
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.
The jury was made up of seven women and five men, including one male person of color. Schroeder said Friday that jurors were allowed to speak to the media if they so wished, but none commented as they left the courthouse on Friday after the verdict. Many left with masks and put their hoods up as they exited.
Local officers, media and protesters were seen positioned around the Kenosha County Courthouse Friday.
Rittenhouse was facing the five charges after he fatally shot two people and injured a third person during the second night of civil unrest in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020. 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.