The judge asked Rittenhouse, 18, to affirm he understood his rights and that if he agrees to testify he can be cross-examined by prosecutors. He said, “Yes, your honor.”
On the stand, Rittenhouse said he is studying nursing at Arizona State University. He testified that he had worked as a lifeguard in Kenosha, was part of a police explorer program and knows CPR and basic life support.
He testified that he went into Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020, with a rifle and small medic kit. “I went down there to provide first aid,” he said. He said he did not go there looking for trouble.
Jurors appeared attentive and some appeared to take extensive notes during his testimony.
The trial’s testimony has at times favored the prosecution’s case that Rittenhouse committed five felonies and a misdemeanor in Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020. Yet other evidence — sometimes from the same witness — has bolstered the defense’s argument that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he opened fire.
In a parking lot, Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, who chased the teenager and threw a plastic bag at him. The teenager tried to flee the area, and a crowd pursued him down the street. Rittenhouse fell to the ground and shot at three other people who confronted him.
The events of that night, almost all captured on video, are hardly in dispute. The question before the jury is whether Rittenhouse’s actions are to be considered reasonable.
While the prosecution has sought to show Rittenhouse as a criminal gunman, defense attorney Mark Richards said Rittenhouse fired only in self-defense. In opening statements, he described Rosenbaum as the aggressor in the initial shooting and said Huber and Grosskreutz were part of a mob who “attacked him in the street like an animal.”
Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to six charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree attempted intentional homicide. Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed curfew violation charge on Tuesday, saying prosecutors had failed to present evidence to support it.
Defense witnesses: Rittenhouse was sweaty, pale
Four witnesses testified for the defense on Tuesday after the prosecution rested its case.
Nicholas Smith, the defense’s first witness, testified that he was on the roof of the car dealership with a group of armed people when he heard gunshots. He testified that he saw Rittenhouse sweating and pale shortly afterward.
“He repeats, ‘I just shot someone,’ over and over, and I believe at some point he did say he had to shoot someone,” Smith said.
JoAnn Fiedler, an armed woman who traveled from West Bend to Kenosha the night of the shootings, similarly testified that Rittenhouse was pale, shaking and stammering his words after the shootings. She described Rittenhouse “pulling his hair back and pulling it back really hard and just, his comment was, ‘my God, my life might be over’ and just, we’re just like, ‘OK, calm down.'”
Nathan DeBruin, a freelance photojournalist, testified about some of the fiery unrest and destruction that he saw in Kenosha last year.
Finally, Lucas Zanin testified that he was across the street from a parking lot in Kenosha and saw people destroying vehicles. The defense played for jurors video of that destruction, which was filmed by Zanin’s stepdaughter.
CNN’s Brad Parks and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.
Kyle Rittenhouse takes the stand in his homicide trial