Wisconsin court binds Kyle Rittenhouse over for trial on six counts in Kenosha shootings

Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE – A lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse used Thursday's preliminary hearing to offer a preview of the self-defense arguments he will raise at a trial over shootings that killed two people and wounded a third during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August.

But efforts to dismiss two of six counts against the Illinois teen were denied by Kenosha County Court Commissioner Loren Keating, who also found probable cause that Rittenhouse committed the crimes charged and bound him over for trial.

Rittenhouse, 17, who was freed on $2 million bail on Nov. 20, appeared at the hearing via Zoom with his attorney, Mark Richards, from Richards' office in Racine, Wisconsin.

Prosecutors charged Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, left, from Illinois, in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third during a night of unrest Aug. 25 in Kenosha, Wis., after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Prosecutors charged Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, left, from Illinois, in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third during a night of unrest Aug. 25 in Kenosha, Wis., after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Before the preliminary hearing started, Richards argued the dismissals he had proposed in a written motion. One was that an exception in Wisconsin's law against minors possessing dangerous weapons applied to his client, and so the misdemeanor count should be dismissed.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger disagreed.

"We don't allow teens to run around with guns. It's that simple. The statute is clear," he argued. "This is exactly why we have this law, because teens shouldn't be allowed to run around with dangerous weapons, because bad things happen."

Richards also argued that a count of recklessly endangering the safety of a video journalist near the first shooting, which killed Joseph Rosenbaum, should also be dismissed because the complaint doesn't portray how he was actually in danger.

Binger cited that victim's own words to investigators, that he saw Rittenhouse fire a round that might have hit the ground, that the journalist felt something on his leg and wondered if he'd been struck by the ricocheted round and that he was in the line of Rittenhouse's shots toward Rosenbaum.

Keating found that was enough detail to support the complaint, and denied the defense motion.

Richards suggested the journalist has since hired a lawyer who has tried to tell prosecutors his client disagrees with how his statement is portrayed in the criminal complaint. Keating sustained Binger's objections about discussing that.

After brief testimony from a Kenosha police detective, Richards introduced nearly a dozen still photos taken from various videos captured the evening of the shootings. He identified Joshua Ziminski as directing Rosenbaum to go after Rittenhouse, and as firing a shot right before Rittenhouse fired on Rosenbaum.

Other photos showed Rittenhouse being struck in the head with a skateboard by Anthony Huber, who he then fatally shot, and of Gaige Grosskreutz being shot in the right elbow as he held a gun in that hand, pointed toward Rittenhouse.

Kenosha Police Det. Ben Antaramian testified that a man in white pants seen in the video kicking Rittenhouse in the head, and at whom he fired two shots, has never been identified or interviewed.

Follow reporter Bruce Vielmetti on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Kyle Rittenhouse bound over by court on Kenosha shooting charges