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Did Rittenhouse fire his weapon in self-defense? Utah lawyer weighs in.

Nov 15, 2021, 5:46 PM
Rittenhour Self-defense...
Kyle Rittenhouse, center, enters the courtroom after a break at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a protest over police brutality in Kenosha, last year. (Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)
(Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool)

SALT LAKE CITY — A jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin is deciding the fate of  Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, who is accused of killing two men and injuring a third during a protest over a police shooting on Aug. 25 last year.  Rittenhouse claims he fired his weapon, a AR-15-style rifle, in self-defense when he fatally shot Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36.

Former Salt Lake County prosecutor and defense attorney Greg Skordas joined KSL NewsRadio hosts Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to discuss the self-defense aspect of the case.

Debbie: Rittenhouse self-defense testimony during the trial was solid

Skordas said he thought Rittenhouse expressed remorse and seemed sincere.

“I don’t know how the jury is going to take it, but he certainly was a very contrite kid,” Skordas said.

Skordas added Rittenhouse had reason to be afraid while on the streets on Kenosha that evening. He was struck with a skateboard, another person grabbed his weapon and a third pointed a gun at Rittenhouse, according to testimony from the trial.

“It’s all coming down to whether or not he was justified in using that level of deadly force — whether he was exercising reasonable self-defense,” Skordas said.

But, Rittenhouse brought the weapon to the protest Skordas pointed out.

Debbie: Rittenhouse wasn’t old enough to be in possession of the AR-15

“Why in the world was a 17-year-old (at the time) carrying a semi-automatic rifle around a protest to begin with?” she asked. “He didn’t even have the legal right to have that type of weapon on him. And I think the jury is going to be wrestling with that.”

They’ll also have to grapple with what Rittenhouse was thinking when he was attacked, Skordas said.

“And what would have been reasonable action on his part at that moment,” he added.

Dave: After watching videos of the shooting, wasn’t Rittenhouse justified in pulling the trigger?

After watching the videos of the shootings, Dave said they showed: 

  1. A man lunges at Rittenhouse, and Rittenhouse shoots and kills him.
  2. Rittenhouse is running from a group when he falls and is hit in the head with a skateboard. He shoots and kills the guy with the skateboard, and
  3. A third man with a gun raises his hands above his head, but then points his gun at Rittenhouse who shoots and kills the armed man.

Skordas said it is going to be difficult for the jury to decide Rittenhouse’s fate on all three counts.

“You have to weigh his mindset each of those times when he pulled the trigger,” Skordas said.

The laws on self-defense provide that if you feel like your life or or another person’s life is in jeopardy from serious bodily injury that you’re entitled to use serious bodily force yourself serious force, which is of course a deadly weapon.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced 500 National Guard troops were on standby outside of Kenosha, ahead of a possible verdict, according to CNN.

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Did Rittenhouse fire his weapon in self-defense? Utah lawyer weighs in.