Kyle Rittenhouse Trial: Second Day of Deliberations Ends Without Verdict

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Jury deliberations in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse will move to a third day on Thursday after the judge in the case dismissed jurors Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the jury for the day just before 4:30 p.m. Central, with the panel not coming to a decision on the five counts Rittenhouse is facing in connection with the case.

The day featured developments in several areas of the case. Schroeder defended his decision to allow Rittenhouse to pick the numbers of the jurors who would be sent to the alternate jury pool prior to the start of deliberations, and criticized media for their coverage of the case.

Schroeder also defended his choice to order prosecutors not to refer to the three individuals who were shot by Rittenhouse, two of whom died, as “victims.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys also sparred over the jury reviewing drone footage from the scene in Kenosha on the night of the shooting. The defense says it did not receive a full download of the drone video until Saturday, when the evidence phase of the trial had concluded.

Schroeder ruled that the dispute required the reopening of evidence and the testimony of an expert witness. Jurors were allowed to watch other videos in the courtroom, with the judge and media both leaving the room for those viewings.

Meanwhile, the defense in the case discussed its motion for a mistrial with the judge. That motion is now being considered without prejudice, meaning that a mistrial could still allow prosecution to re-file charges against Rittenhouse in the case.

Kyle Rittenhouse selected six pieces of paper from a drum, determining who will be the six alternate jurors and who will be the final 12 jurors deciding his fate in the murder trial over his killing two protesters and injuring a third last summer.

Rittenhouse still faces five counts in the case, after an illegal weapons charge was dismissed by Schroeder.

Rittenhouse, now 18, was in Kenosha with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and a medical kit in what he said was an effort to protect property from the damaging demonstrations that broke out over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white Kenosha police officer last summer.

While Rittenhouse is white, as were those he shot, the case has stirred debate over vigilantism, the right to bear arms and the unrest that erupted around the U.S. that summer over the killing of George Floyd and the shooting of Blake.

Rittenhouse testified during the trial that he acted in self-defense. Wisconsin’s self-defense law allows someone to use deadly force only if “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm,” and the jury has been tasked with deciding whether Rittenhouse believed he was in such peril, and whether that belief was reasonable under the circumstances.

Here is a recap of the updates throughout the second day of deliberations Wednesday:

-Just before 4:30 p.m., the jury was dismissed for the day. Court will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday.

-- Defense is bringing up the mistrial motion again. Now the motion is longer without prejudice. That means the state can re-bring the case.

They say it is the only way for the playing field to be leveled.

“We got a compressed version that was not at the quality that the state has,” says the defense about the drone video introduced in the case.

Judge says the matter doesn’t have the urgency until the jury requests the drone video…even though its been shown in open court.

-- Big holdup in Rittenhouse trial. While discussing the drone video that is at the heart of the mistrial motion, there was a question about copying video from a phone to a laptop. 

The judge now says resolving the dispute will require reopening the evidence and an expert witness. That could stop deliberations in their tracks 

-- Jurors will be allowed to view video in courtroom as many times as they want.

-- Jury asks: "Do we view videos in private or in the courtroom?"

Judge responds: “Now my nightmare has come true.”

Prosecutors say it must be done in the courtroom.

The defense says it has a real problem with the jury viewing the drone footage. It reminds the judge of a pending mistrial motion.

Mark Richards says the defense did not get a full download of the drone video until Saturday, after the evidence phase of the trial had closed.

Judge says he hasn’t had a chance to read the motion to dismiss. The state has yet to respond. Judge Bruce Schroeder says he wonders why an expert quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called his choice not to render a verdict yet “odd.”

He also discussed his choice to avoid referring to the three people shot as "victims" as well as the decision to let the defendant randomly pick the alternates.

He says that decision dates back to a trial he had in Racine when a clerk picked the only Black name out of a tumbler as the alternate. Now, he says he has an “almost universal policy” about having the defendant pick the alternates.

Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder defends his rulings and decisions that sparked media coverage during the trial including disallowing the word ‘victims’ in the courtroom and letting Kyle Rittenhouse draws slips to help determine his own jury.

-- Jury has a question. They are asking the lawyers to come back to the courtroom.

-- A man who spent Tuesday walking around with a megaphone in one hand and a dog in the other brought an AR-15 rifle to a protest on the stairs of the courthouse Wednesday morning.

He was approached and detained by the Kenosha County Sheriff, who examined his documentation to see if he had the right to carry a weapon. No violence has been reported. The man was ultimately released and walked away.

-After more than eight hours of deliberations, jurors have been dismissed for the day by Judge Bruce Schroeder.

No verdict was reached, and jurors will return for more deliberations Wednesday.

-The Rittenhouse jury resumed deliberations Tuesday afternoon, and made a second request to the judge in the case for 11 copies of the full instructions given by the court.

-- The jury is breaking for lunch. Their choice is pizza. About an hour ago they asked for extra copies of the jury instructions, specifically pages one through six, which relate to self defense and provocation.

-- In Judge Bruce Schroeder’s Kenosha courtroom, Kyle Rittenhouse reached into a bin and picked the numbers of six jurors who will be dismissed. The remaining 12 will deliberate his fate.

The six alternate jurors will be kept at the courthouse until those deliberations are complete.

Deliberations will start now. The remaining 12 are being told they must only choose one verdict for each of the five remaining counts against Rittenhouse.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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