Rittenhouse jury deliberates for third day without verdict

Closely watched trial also has had two mistrial requests from defence

The jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial deliberated for a third day without reaching a verdict on Thursday.

The members of the panel will return on Friday morning to resume their work. Unlike on previous days, they had no questions and no requests to view any evidence in the politically fraught case.

Mr Rittenhouse, 18, is on trial for killing two men and wounding a third with a rifle during a turbulent night of protests that erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2020 after a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot in the back by a white police officer.

Even as the jury weighed the evidence, two mistrial requests from the defence hung over the case, with the potential to upend the verdict if the panel were to convict Mr Rittenhouse. One of those requests asks the judge to go even further and bar prosecutors from retrying him.

Mr Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old former police youth cadet when he went to Kenosha in what he said was an effort to protect property after rioters set fires and ransacked businesses over previous nights.

He shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz.

Mr Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defence after coming under attack, while prosecutors argued he instigated the bloodshed.

The case has exposed deep divides among Americans over guns, racial injustice, vigilantism and self-defence in the US.

To some civil rights activists, the shootings were an attack on the movement for racial justice and some have complained of a racial double standard in the way Mr Rittenhouse was treated by law enforcement that night.

The defence has twice asked the judge to declare a mistrial, saying that they were given an inferior copy of a potentially crucial video and that the prosecution asked improper questions of Mr Rittenhouse during cross-examination.

Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder has said the bid for a mistrial will have to be addressed if there is a guilty verdict. If Mr Rittenhouse is acquitted, the dispute will not matter.

But if he is found guilty and the judge then declares a mistrial, that would essentially void the verdict.

Mr Rittenhouse could receive life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.

Updated: November 18th 2021, 10:56 PM