The jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial deliberated throughout the day Tuesday without reaching a verdict on whether the defendant was the instigator of a night of bloodshed in Kenosha or a concerned citizen who was attacked while trying to protect property.
The case passed to the anonymous jury after the judge, in an unusual move, allowed Rittenhouse himself to play a minor role in selecting the final panel of 12 people who will decide his fate.
Rittenhouse reached into a drum and produced numbered ballots that determined which of the 18 jurors who heard the case would deliberate and which would be designated alternates.
The clerk of the court, and not the accused, is usually the one who carries out this work. Judge Bruce Schroeder later noted that he has included the defendants in the process since “I would say, about 20 years, at least.”
The members of the jury will meet again on Wednesday to continue deliberation.
Rittenhouse, 18, faces a life sentence if convicted of using a semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and injure a third during protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020. The former Police cadet is white, just like the people he shot.
The young man testified that he acted in self-defense, while prosecutors argued that he incited violence. The case has become a hot spot in the debate over guns, protests for racial justice, civilian policing, and law and order in the United States.
The jury appeared to be predominantly white. Jury candidates were not asked to mention their race during the selection process, and the court did not provide a racial breakdown.