Teen charged with killing 2 Kenosha protesters extradited to Wisconsin

Phil Helsel
·4 min read

An Illinois teen charged with fatally shooting two protesters during demonstrations and unrest in Wisconsin was extradited to that state Friday.

A judge granted an extradition request to send Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch in northern Illinois, to Wisconsin, and he arrived at the Kenosha County Jail later that day, according to officials and court documents.

The judge rejected arguments by Rittenhouse's attorney that the documents did not conform to statutory requirements and that extraditing the teenager to Wisconsin would violate his Constitutional rights.

Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, attempted first-degree intentional homicide and other charges in the shooting deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and the wounding of a third man on Aug. 25.

The shooting happened after Rittenhouse went to Kenosha during protests and unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back on Aug. 23. Blake survived, but his family has said he is paralyzed.

Rittenhouse's lawyers have said Rittenhouse acted in self-defense and that he was there to try and protect businesses.

Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25, 2020. (Adam Rogan / AP file)
Kyle Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 25, 2020. (Adam Rogan / AP file)

At a hearing in Illinois on Friday, Rittenhouse's attorney, John Pierce, told Lake County Judge Paul Novak that he no longer wanted to call witnesses, and he instead focused on what he called “fatal defects” in extradition papers.

An Illinois prosecutor, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller, countered that the law on extradition was unambiguous, The Associated Press reported.

“You can imagine the chaos if someone can commit a crime and step over the (state borderline) and get sanctuary,” Scheller said.

Rittenhouse's attorney argued that there was insufficient evidence that the complaint was sworn before a magistrate as required, a court order granting the extradition states.

Novak wrote in the order that Rittenhouse offered no evidence of that.

"Even if this court were to find the complaint were not made before a magistrate as set above forth, Rittenhouse's argument would still fail," the judge wrote,

Novak noted that an affidavit of probable cause was also filed that satisfies the law, that a second judge found probable cause for Rittenhouse's arrest, and that a magistrate in Kenosha County also determined there was probable cause supporting an arrest warrant and that it complies with the law.

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said later Friday that Rittenhouse was at the jail after being extradited.

Related:

Before the fatal shooting of the two protesters, there had been nights of protests and demonstrations. There had been some looting and damage to businesses, including buildings being burned.

Rittenhouse was armed with what authorities have described as a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223-caliber rifle.

But that gun was bought and stored in Wisconsin, Lake County prosecutors have said, meaning Rittenhouse would not face gun charges in Illinois. His attorney has said in a statement that Rittenhouse and a friend armed themselves that night and that the guns never crossed state lines.

The shooting was captured on video. Video appeared to show Rosenbaum throw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse, which does not hit him, and approach Rittenhouse before he is shot, court documents say. A witness told police Rosenbaum was trying to grab Rittenhouse's gun.

Rittenhouse a short time later runs away and is heard saying into a cell phone "I just killed somebody," according to the criminal complaint.

Video also showed Rittenhouse being followed by people as he ran, he appears to trip and then fire at another person who jumped at him who is not hit, the complaint says. Huber approaches while carrying a skateboard and tried to pull the rifle away from Rittenhouse before his is fatally shot, the video shows. A third person, who appeared to have had a handgun, was then shot in the arm, according to the complaint.

"This was classic self-defense, and we are going to prove it," Rittenhouse's lawyer, Pierce, has previously said. "We will obtain justice for Kyle no matter how hard the fight or how long it takes."

If convicted of first-degree homicide, Rittenhouse faces a sentence of life in prison.

Antioch is a village of around 14,000 near the Wisconsin border, and is around 15 miles from Kenosha.