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Closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial are under way and soon the teen’s fate will be in the hands of the jurors.
Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial for the murders of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz in August of 2020. The then-17-year-old is accused of opening fire on them during a night of unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Prosecutors have painted his actions as aggressive, reckless and deadly, while his attorneys have argued he was acting in self-defense.
The arguments began Monday with prosecutor Thomas Binger telling the jury that, "This is a case in which a 17-year-old teenager killed two unarmed men and severely wounded a third person with an AR-15 that did not belong to him,” CNN reports. He noted that Rittenhouse wasn't "protecting his home or his family."
"Was he genuinely interested in helping people? He ran around with an AR-15... and lied about being an EMT," Binger said on Monday. "Does that suggest to you that he genuinely is there to help?"
The arguments are expected to take up to five hours before presiding Judge Bruce Schroeder will reduce the number of jurors from 18 to 12, NBC Chicago reports. His decision will be based at random, determined by drawing names out of a tumbler as done with lottery winners.
Ahead of the closing arguments, Schroeder dropped a sixth count against Rittenhouse, which was possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. It was a misdemeanor charge.
Rittenhouse still faces five felony charges and if convicted on the most serious charge of first-degree intentional homicide could face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The defense rested its case Thursday, following a contentious and dramatic week of testimony. Rittenhouse himself took the stand and broke down sobbing as he talked about the moments leading up to the shooting that took the lives of two people and left one wounded.
The defense put witnesses on the stand across two and a half days last week. Prosecutors presented testimony over a span of about five days. Rittenhouse declared last week that, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I defended myself.”
After closing arguments wrap up, the jury will begin their deliberation.
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