Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty
Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide and faced a mandatory life sentence. But now, Rittenhouse – who was 17 when he shot three people with an AR-15 rifle – will walk free.
Defense lawyer said he ‘had to put’ Rittenhouse on the stand
Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, defense attorney Mark Richards said he “had to put” Rittenhouse on the stand and that it “wasn’t a close call.”
Richards said the defense team did a mock jury, one with Rittenhouse testifying and one without. “It was substantially better when he testified,” Richards said. “That sealed it. If you don’t put a client on the stand, you’re going to lose. Period.”
Richards said there were times he doubted the case and times he was confident.
“It’s been a long three weeks. We’re very happy with the verdict,” Richards said. “To say that we were relieved would be a gross understatement.”
Richards said Rittenhouse “wants to get on with his life” and “wishes none of this ever happened.”
Rittenhouse collapses, cries as verdict read
Rittenhouse stood before the jury Friday afternoon. As Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty and each not guilty verdict was read, he started to break down in tears. By the last verdict, he appeared to drop to his knees. He was helped up and given water, and Rittenhouse then hugged one of his attorneys.
He quickly left the courtroom after the verdict was complete. His family, seated in the rows behind him in the courtroom, were seen in tears.
The trial’s eight days of testimony regularly included raw emotion and extreme tension. Rittenhouse took the stand last week in his own defense, and he broke down when describing the events that led to him shooting three people.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Rittenhouse said while claiming self-defense. Later, Rittenhouse said, “I didn’t want to have to kill anybody that night.”