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Gun charge dismissed in Kyle Rittenhouse trial

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The jury that will decide Kyle Rittenhouse's fate will be allowed to consider some lesser charges in addition to those prosecutors originally brought against him, after fierce debate by both sides on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. Rittenhouse, who was 17 when he fatally shot two protesters and wounded a third in August 2020 during a chaotic night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, testified that he had acted in self-defense. Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in the case that has left Americans divided over whether the Illinois teenager was a patriot who took a stand against lawlessness or a vigilante who brought a gun to a protest.

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Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder on Monday dismissed the charge of gun possession by a minor in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. 

The charge was dropped after the defense argued that the statute makes it unlawful for those under age 18 to carry what is known as a "short-barreled rifle" in Wisconsin, i.e. a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, but it is not illegal to carry a longer rifle. This law that allows teenagers to hunt.

No evidence was presented in trial arguing that the AR-15 Rittenhouse had on Aug. 25, 2020 — which was used to shoot Gaige Grosskreutz, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, killing the latter two men — had a barrel longer than 16 inches. On Monday morning, the prosecution acknowledged that the barrel length is more than 16 inches, and Schroeder dismissed the charge. 

A possible implication of this is could be determined that it would be legal for teenagers to openly carry AR-15s under most circumstances in Wisconsin.

The charge was dropped prior to the jury being called into the courtroom at about 9:50 a.m. Monday as attorneys for both sides and Schroeder finalized instructions that would be relayed to the jury. Closing statements took place Monday prior to the jury being allowed to deliberate.

Kenosha Police Detective Ben Antaramian prepares to show an assault-style rifle belonging to defendant Kyle Rittenhouse to State Crime Lab fir…

Schroeder has yet to definitively rule on the defense's attempt last week to have the trial ruled a "mistrial with prejudice," meaning that the charges could not be brought up again.

The majority of the most serious charges against Rittenhouse, for which he could face life in prison in the killings of Rosenbaum and Huber, are still to be considered by the jury so long as a mistrial ruling isn't given.


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