Kyle Rittenhouse trial live updates: Ryan Balch testifies, describes Rittenhouse as 'young and impressionable'

·9 min read

We're into day four of the trial for Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager charged with killing two people and wounding a third during violent protests in Kenosha last year after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

In addition to counts of intentional, reckless and attempted homicide, and reckless endangerment, and curfew violation, Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with possessing a firearm as a minor, a misdemeanor.

Check below for updates as Journal Sentinel reporters and photographers cover the trial. You can also read about what happened on day one, day two and three of the trial. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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Ryan Balch testifies, describes Rittenhouse as 'young and impressionable'

Ryan Balch, who went to Kenosha the night of the shooting with two guns and body armor to protect businesses, testified that he kept Rittenhouse close because he seemed inexperienced and young.

Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, told Balch he was 19 years old and that he was certified as an EMT — he was not.

“He seemed like a young and impressionable kid,” Balch said. “He seemed a little under-equipped and under-experienced, which is one of the reasons we stayed with him.”

Balch also testified that he spent a lot of time during the unrest trying to diffuse arguments.

He said he specifically noticed Joseph Rosenbaum, who didn’t appear to be “organic with the protesters.”

“They didn’t seem comfortable with his presence,” Balch said.

“Every time I encountered Joseph Rosenbaum he was hyper-aggressive and acting out in a violent manner,” he said.

Balch said he did not see Rosenbaum actually strike or injure anyone.

Balch said at one point, he “got between” Rosenbaum and another member of the group of armed men during a confrontation. The armed man had tried to stop Rosenbaum from starting a fire, Balch said.

He testified that Rosenbaum shouted: “If I catch any of you guys alone tonight I’m going to (expletive) kill you.” Rittenhouse was present for the interaction, Balch said.

Rittenhouse and Balch got separated shortly before the shooting, he said.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger’s questioning of Balch continued Thursday afternoon. After a short cross-examination by Mark Richards, Rittenhouse's defense attorney, Judge Bruce Schroeder called a break for the day.

— Sophie Carson

Daily Caller videographer testifies about transporting Rosenbaum to hospital

On the witness stand Thursday, Daily Caller videographer Richie McGinniss recounted what happened in the moments after Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum and answered questions about the movements of others in the crowd.

McGinniss said he believed he was recording video of Rosenbaum chasing Rittenhouse, but in the chaos he pressed the photo button instead. He said he is not sure how, but his phone began recording video as McGinniss was standing over Rosenbaum’s body, trying to help him after he was shot.

Prosecutors played the graphic video again Thursday. It depicts the chaotic scene as McGinniss flips over Rosenbaum, who fell face-down after being shot, and tries to find his gunshot wounds. McGinniss took off his own shirt to hold it to Rosenbaum's wounds.

After someone said there was a hospital across the street, McGinniss , along with others, carried Rosenbaum to a van that would drive him to the emergency room entrance.

McGinniss told defense attorney Mark Richards that as he was carrying Rosenbaum to the van, someone in the surrounding crowd punched him in the side of the face.

McGinniss rode in the back of the van with Rosenbaum to the hospital doors and helped load him onto a gurney, he testified.

“I was just telling him that we’re going to have a beer together afterwards and that it was all going to be OK,” he said.

McGinniss said he realized at the hospital that his phone hadn’t recorded the shooting. He did give his phone to police for the other videos he took.

Prior to the shooting, McGinniss said he noticed that people were reacting negatively to Rittenhouse offering medical care.

People “were casting negative looks in his direction and he didn't seem to be aware of that,” McGinniss said.

McGinniss was also questioned about whether others, aside from Rosenbaum, were chasing Rittenhouse immediately before the shooting. He said he was mostly focused on Rittenhouse’s AR-15 style gun, but he believed others were not involved in the chase.

He also elaborated on the movements of Rosenbaum and Rittenhouse before the shooting. Rittenhouse was holding his gun at a 45-degree angle before Rosenbaum “lunged” with both hands outstretched for the “front portion” of the gun, McGinniss testified.

He said he did not know if Rosenbaum touched the gun.

Rittenhouse moved the gun to the left in a dodging motion, then brought it level and fired four shots at Rosenbaum, McGinniss said.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger asked McGinniss if moving the gun to the left would have moved it out of reach of Rosenbaum.

“They were extremely close and so it’s not clear to me what would've happened if those shots hadn’t been fired,” McGinniss said.

Witness testimony continued Thursday afternoon with Ryan Balch, a Jackson, Wisconsin resident who said he spent five years in the U.S. Army as an infantryman. Balch went to Kenosha with an AR-15, a handgun and body armor with the intention of protecting the Car Source business.

— Sophie Carson

Daily Caller videographer testifies about witnessing Rittenhouse shoot Rosenbaum

A videographer testified Thursday morning about witnessing Rittenhouse shoot Joseph Rosenbaum.

Richie McGinniss , chief video director for the conservative news website the Daily Caller, was in Kenosha covering the unrest with two other Daily Caller reporters.

McGinniss testified he went to his hotel to connect to the internet the evening of Aug. 25 and saw online that a group of armed people were outside a business. He returned to the street and conducted a video interview with Rittenhouse.

The interview was played during McGinniss’ testimony. In the interview, Rittenhouse said he was at the car lot to provide medical assistance to people and that the other armed men around him on the street and roof were there to protect him.

Rittenhouse told McGinniss he could follow him as he sought out people who needed medical help. In the video, Rittenhouse walked toward other people and shouted, “Does anybody need medical?”

Rittenhouse had a brief interaction with a group of four men who were upset that he was offering medical care. Earlier, Rittenhouse had come up to the men with his gun as they were jumping on cars, McGinniss learned as he talked with the men.

McGinniss testified that he then saw Rittenhouse running down the street with a fire extinguisher in one hand. McGinniss said he followed because he sensed there was something big happening.

Richard "Richie" McGinniss, chief video director for The Daily Caller, shows how Kyle Rittenhouse was holding his rifle before he shot Joseph Rosenbaum during the fourth day of Rittenhouse's trial Thursday at the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Richard "Richie" McGinniss, chief video director for The Daily Caller, shows how Kyle Rittenhouse was holding his rifle before he shot Joseph Rosenbaum during the fourth day of Rittenhouse's trial Thursday at the Kenosha County Courthouse.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger focused on video footage of the moments Rittenhouse ran into a parking lot, chased by Rosenbaum. McGinniss was feet away from the two men.

McGinniss said he noticed Rosenbaum was not armed and was only carrying a plastic bag.

According to McGinniss’ testimony, Rosenbaum threw the bag at Rittenhouse.

Then he heard the first shot — fired by another person — but didn’t think it was a gunshot initially. He described it as a “pop.”

Then Rittenhouse turned around and faced Rosenbaum. The defense has argued that Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum because he heard the gunshot.

McGinniss said he believed Rittenhouse turned around because he was running into a corner in the parking lot.

“Night-of, it appeared to me that he turned around because he had reached a dead-end or something like that,” McGinniss said.

McGinniss testified he saw Rosenbaum “lunge” at Rittenhouse in the split seconds before Rittenhouse fired four shots, a detail Binger focused on before the courtroom broke for lunch. McGinniss in previous televised interviews used the word “fall” to describe Rosenbaum’s movement.

McGinniss clarified that Rosenbaum had a forward “momentum” with the lunge and that he might have been able to catch himself if he weren’t shot.

— Sophie Carson

Juror booted after making joke to sheriff's deputy

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a male juror Thursday morning who made a joke to a sheriff’s deputy about the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the number of times he was shot.

When Schroeder brought the juror to the courtroom to ask him about the joke, the man would not repeat it but said he didn’t think it had “anything to do with” the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.

Schroeder has talked repeatedly about the importance that the public perceives the trial as fair.

“It’s clear that the appearance of bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case,” he said.

At the very least, Schroeder said, “it was bad judgment to tell a joke of that nature.”

With the juror’s dismissal, 19 jurors remain. Only twelve will deliberate.

Questioning of Martin Howard, a Kenosha police detective who is a lead investigator on the case, continued Thursday morning. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have focused heavily on videos from bystanders as they have questioned Howard.

— Sophie Carson

A juror could be booted from trial because of a joke told to sheriff's deputy

At the end of court on Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger brought up an incident in which one off the 20 jurors tried to tell a joke to sheriff's deputy.

Binger didn't reveal the nature of the joke, but apparently it was something that caused him to ask Judge Bruce Schroeder to remove the juror. Only 12 will deliberate, so there are plenty of alternates at this point.

The request got the attention of everyone preparing to leave the courtroom for the day.

Schroeder immediately said he would consider the matter Thursday morning. The deputy could be questioned separately under oath about what was said. If the judge finds it was inappropriate or revealed a bias, he would dismiss the juror.

The 20 jurors are mostly older — fewer than six appear to be under 40. There is one Black male, who is younger, and one man who uses an electric scooter-style wheelchair and is older.

One of the older male jurors has worn a dress shirt, slacks and a blazer each day, but most of them dress very casually.

Most seem to be taking notes on pads they are provided at the start of each day.

During the jury selection process Monday, about three dozen people were excused with cause, like imminent European travel plans, health conditions, or because they no longer live in the county. Several said they had strong opinions about what the outcome should be.

Also on Monday, a potential male juror was cited for disorderly conduct after a sheriff's deputy found him smoking in a courthouse restroom, where it is prohibited.

— Bruce Vielmetti

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Kyle Rittenhouse trial live updates: Witness Ryan Balch testifies