Illinois teen Kyle Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty Tuesday to fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during a protest in Wisconsin.
The Kenosha News reported that attorneys representing Rittenhouse, who turned 18 this week, are expected to argue that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. A trial date was set for March 29 during Tuesday’s hearing which lasted minutes and was held over Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rittenhouse is charged with intentional homicide, attempted homicide, reckless homicide, recklessly endangering safety, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. He is accused of using an AR-15-style weapon to fatally shoot Joesph Rosenbaum, 36, and Huber during an August 25 protest in Kenosha. A third man was reportedly seriously wounded.
Rittenhouse claimed while at the protest, he was hit in the head and neck with a baseball bat and skateboard. While medics reportedly observed superficial scratches on his arm, they did not see any bruising or cuts.
Rittenhouse allegedly traveled back home to Antioch, Illinois, before turning himself in on August 26. In October, a judge ordered Rittenhouse’s extradition to Wisconsin. He was released from jail in late November after posting a $2 million bond.
Days before his release, Rittenhouse’s friend, Dominick Black, 19, was charged with purchasing the gun Rittenhouse used in the August 25 shooting. Black allegedly also confessed to driving Rittenhouse back to Antioch after the shootings with the AR-15-style weapon in the trunk of his car.
At the time of the deadly shooting, demonstrators were protesting the officer-related shooting of Jacob Blake. Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey was reportedly investigating a domestic incident on August 23 when he shot Blake seven times, leaving Blake paralyzed.
Tuesday’s hearing comes as officials are expected to announce a charging decision regarding Blake’s shooting in the upcoming days. Wisconsin’s governor activated the National Guard to assist Kenosha police as they prepare for the looming decision.
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[Featured image: Kyle Rittenhouse/Antioch Police Department]