Kyle Rittenhouse on trial: Everything you need to know

Kyle Rittenhouse, now 18, formerly of Antioch, Illinois, has been charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor.


Related video above: Blake family plans to be active during Rittenhouse trial

What could be the most closely watched trial in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, history begins Monday.

Kyle Rittenhouse, now 18, formerly of Antioch, Illinois, has been charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor.

Jury selection begins at 9 a.m.

The trial is expected to last two or three weeks.

Kyle Rittenhouse:

Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shootings.

He was an ardent police supporter before the incidents, serving as a youth cadet in the Grayslake Police Department and posting photos of himself brandishing a rifle above the caption "Blue Lives Matter."

He worked part-time as a YMCA lifeguard in Lindenhurst, Illinois, before he was furloughed in March 2020.

He traveled to Kenosha, which is about 15 miles from his home, on Aug. 25 after pleas went out on social media to protect businesses during protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer two days earlier.

Video from the night of the shootings show Rittenhouse on the streets with his AR-style semiautomatic rifle and a medical kit slung over his shoulder.

"People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business," Rittenhouse told a reporter from the Daily Caller before the shootings. "And part of my job is to also help people. If there is somebody hurt, I'm running into harm's way. That's why I have my rifle."

The charges:

  • First-degree reckless homicide with a dangerous weapon
  • First-degree reckless homicide with a dangerous weapon
  • First-degree recklessly endangering safety with a dangerous weapon
  • First-degree recklessly endangering safety with a dangerous weapon
  • Attempt first-degree intentional homicide with a dangerous weapon
  • Failure to comply with an emergency management order
  • Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person younger than 18 years old (misdemeanor)

Rittenhouse faces up to life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.


Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty. He said he acted in self-defense.

Rittenhouse's attorneys say a man -- Joseph Rosenbaum -- chased the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Rittenhouse in an attempt to steal his gun, forcing Rittenhouse to fatally shoot him.

Video that has surfaced so far doesn't show that shooting, but it does show Rosenbaum run toward Rittenhouse and appear to throw a plastic bag at him before shots ring out and Rosenbaum lies dying on the ground.

After shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse is seen calling someone and saying he killed the victim.

Other video shows Rittenhouse moments later shooting and killing Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse is white, as are the three men he shot.


Rittenhouse is free on $2 million cash bail raised by supporters.

As conservatives rallied to Rittenhouse as a symbol of gun rights and resistance to the sometimes damaging protests that followed George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, he has seemed at times to revel in his notoriety.

He posed for photos in a Wisconsin bar with members of the far right extremist group the Proud Boys, though his attorneys say there's no evidence he was affiliated with the group before the shootings.

The protests:

Activists were in Kenosha protesting the Aug. 23, 2020, police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake seven times in the back when he attempted to leave the scene of a domestic violence call.

No criminal charges were filed against Sheskey.

Blake remains paralyzed from the waist down.

Sheskey is white and Blake is Black.

Several businesses were looted and burned during the protests.

Gov. Tony Evers called out the Wisconsin National Guard to provide security and enacted several nights of curfews.

Rittenhouse shot three men, killing two of them.

The victims:

Rosenbaum, 36, was released the day of the shootings from a Milwaukee hospital where he had been treated for a suicide attempt.

It's not clear why he was on Kenosha's streets the night of the protests, though he had a fiancee who lived in the city.

His background includes a conviction for sexual conduct with a minor in Arizona in 2002.

The judge denied a defense request to argue Rosenbaum was trying to get Rittenhouse's rifle because, as a convicted sex offender, Rosenbaum couldn't legally get one on his own.

Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, is seen on video swinging a skateboard at Rittenhouse before he was shot.

He was known around Kenosha's skateboarding community, and his girlfriend, Hannah Gittings, said skateboarding was his life.

Huber served a pair of prison stints stemming from family conflict, including choking his brother in 2012.

A great-aunt, Susan Hughes, said Huber was involved in protests because he was "very upset" that a police officer had shot Blake.

Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, of West Allis, said he attended several protests following Floyd's May 2020 death.

With training as a paramedic, Grosskreutz carried medical supplies and was doing so the night of the Kenosha shootings.

He was also armed with a pistol and had it in his hand when he approached Rittenhouse, who shot him in the arm.

The judge:

The judge in the case, Bruce Schroeder, is known for his tough sentences.

He graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1970 and has been on the bench since 1983.

At 75, he's the longest-serving active circuit judge in Wisconsin.

Among his highest-profile cases was the 2008 homicide trial of Mark Jensen, who was accused of poisoning and smothering his wife.

Jensen was convicted, but appellate courts and the state Supreme Court ruled Schroeder erred by admitting as evidence a letter Jensen's wife had given to a neighbor before her death in which she said that if anything happened to her, her husband was responsible.

A new trial is set for next year.

Schroeder has the reputation of being a stern judge who often hands down tough sentences.

In 2018, he sentenced a woman convicted of shoplifting to tell the manager of any store she entered that she was on supervision for theft.

Schroeder told the woman that "embarrassment does have a valuable place in deterring criminality."

A state appeals court threw out the sentence.

Schroeder drew attention before Rittenhouse's trial by forbidding attorneys from referring to Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz as victims -- a longstanding practice in his courtroom.

But he also ruled defense attorneys could portray the three as looters, arsonists or rioters if they could prove it.

Kenosha-based defense attorney Michael Cicchini said Schroeder won't wilt under the intense attention expected for Rittenhouse's trial.

"He's protective of the right to present a defense, the right to confrontation. He's that way for all defendants, regardless of the case. The judge in my opinion is not swayed by or interested in politics," Cicchini said. "He'll apply the rules even-handedly without any influence from the media."

The prosecution:

Assistant Kenosha County District Attorney Thomas Binger is trying the case.

He described Rittenhouse as a vigilante and a "chaos tourist" with a violent streak.

Binger unsuccessfully sought to introduce a pair of videos, including one that showed Rittenhouse appearing to punch a girl who was fighting his sister a couple of months before the shootings, and another in which Rittenhouse is heard commenting that he would like to shoot some men he thought were shoplifting from a pharmacy.

Binger is considered a "skilled" lawyer and a "hard worker."

He received his law degree in 1996 from the University of Michigan.

Binger served as a Milwaukee County prosecutor in the early 2000s and spent nine years in private practice before joining the Kenosha County district attorney's office in 2014.

He ran for district attorney in nearby Racine County as a Democrat in 2016, promising he would get tougher on heroin traffickers and help heroin users overcome their addiction to keep them out of the criminal justice system.

Binger lost to the Republican candidate.

The defense:

Leading the defense is tough-talking Racine attorney Mark Richards.

He's a courtroom veteran, earning his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987.

Richards served as an assistant district attorney in Racine and Kenosha counties in the late 1980s before he opened his own firm in 1990.

He has worked on more than 100 jury trials.

Richards forced Racine prosecutors in 1999 to drop first-degree intentional homicide charges against Kurtis King, who was accused of strangling his cellmate at the Racine Correctional Institution, after raising questions about the guards' credibility.

Paul Bucher, a former district attorney in Waukesha County and a one-time state attorney general candidate, said Richards is well known and respected in legal circles.

The gun:

Prosecutors described the gun used in the protest shootings as a "Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle."

It was purchased illegally on May 1 at Ladysmith Ace Home Center in Ladysmith, Wisconsin.

Dominick Black, 19, of Racine, was charged with two counts of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to a person under the age of 18, causing death.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Black could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

The jury:

"We'll be picking from 34 to get to 20," Schroeder told prosecutors and the defense.

Schroeder doesn't use jury questionnaires.

It is unclear how long the jury selection process will take.

It's also not clear how many potential jurors received a summons to potentially hear the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.