The defense wrapped up its case Thursday in the Wisconsin homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, clearing the way for closing arguments to be made Monday. Each side will have 2½ hours for its presentation, CNN reports. The prosecution had rested on Tuesday. If he's found guilty of the most serious charge in the deaths of two men and the wounding of a third in Kenosha last year, Rittenhouse will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison, per the AP. With the testimony over, here's where the 18-year-old's trial stands:
- Witnesses: The jury heard the testimony of 31 people, 10 called by the defense, over eight days. Prosecutors called a single rebuttal witness on Thursday.
- Expert testimony: On Thursday, jurors heard from John Black, described as a use-of-force expert and former police official, per the Washington Post. Black said he learned from studying video that Rittenhouse fired all of his shots in 1 minute, 20 seconds. Rittenhouse's lawyers contend he fired in self-defense, and in a pretrial hearing, Black had said the defendant's actions were within the state's self-defense law.
- Change in strategy: Prosecutors now say they want the jury to be allowed to consider lesser charges in two instances, per NPR. Possibilities include reckless homicide instead of intentional homicide and second-degree homicide in place of first-degree. A lawyer not involved in the case said prosecutors' shift could be "an acknowledgement that their case might not be as strong with regard to the original charges, and that at this point, they're willing to give up the prospect of life imprisonment for the defendant in exchange for obtaining convictions on something."
- Deliberations: When closing arguments conclude, the names of the 18 jurors who have heard the trial will be placed in an old lottery tumbler. Twelve will be drawn, and those jurors will begin deliberating the case.
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