Opening arguments begin in Rittenhouse trial - jurors must decide self defense or vigilantism?

The 18-year-old faces two homicide counts, one for attempted homicide
Image
Jury selection underway in Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial
Jury selection underway in Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial
Getty Images

Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday in Wisconsin in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse – who as a 17-year-old killed two men when in Kenosha to protect the city during the August 2020 social justice demonstrations.

Statements begin one day after a jury was seated in the high-profile trial in which jurors will be asked to decide whether Rittenhouse was a vigilante who committed homicide or he acted in self defense.

The jury is made up of 12 jurors and eight alternates. 

Rittenhouse traveled from his home in Illinois to Kenosha amid rioting sparked by a white police officer fatally shooting black male Jacob Blake in the back.

Rittenhouse said he went there to protect property after two previous nights marked by arson, gunfire and the ransacking of businesses, according to the Associated Press.

Rittenhouse, now 18, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree homicide, the most serious charge against him.

Bystander video shows one of those fatally shot, Joseph Rosenbaum, chasing Rittenhouse but not the shooting. Video also shows the other person killed, Anthony Huber, swinging a skateboard at Rittenhouse before he was shot.

Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded by Rittenhouse’s AR-15, had a gun in his hand as he stepped toward Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse faces two homicide counts and one of attempted homicide, along with charges of reckless endangering and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18, the wire service also reports.