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How is the jury panel in the Rittenhouse trial analyzing the self-defense claim?

6 News legal analyst weighs in on the Rittenhouse trial and the self-defense claim.

KENOSHA, Wisconsin — After several days of testimonies, evidence and arguments -- the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse's homicide trial lies in the hands a dozen jurors.

Rittenhouse, 18, faces life in prison if convicted as charged for using an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to kill two men and injuring a third during a night of protests against racial injustice in Kenosha in the summer of 2020.

Rttenhouse, 17-years-old at the time of the deadly shootings testified he acted in self defense after coming under attack.

"It's up to the defense to raise and basically always saying yes we did it, yes he shot the person, yes he took lethal action but he was justified in doing so," 6 News legal expert and current criminal attorney Liz Mitchell explained about a self-defense claim.

Mitchell says the jurors will be looking at three main things when debating self-defense.

  • Was Rittenhouse the one who initiated the aggression?
  • Was Rittenhouse justified to use the force?
  • Would any reasonable person feel the same way and act in the same way that Rittenhouse did?

Mitchell says jurors should only be looking at what happened in the brief moments before Rittenhouse pulled the trigger to decide if this was truly in self-defense which may be hard to do.

"I think it's fair to say they are going to weigh things in like why was he there in the first place," she explained.

Rittenhouse's motives for being in Kenosha are irrelevant to whether he had a legal right to shoot when threatened, but on the other side of the aisle, prosecutors argued Rittenhouse instigated the bloodshed by going into a hostile environment who caused the majority of deadly encounters the night of the protests.

Mitchell says the dozen jurors also has to consider if Rittenhouse was the aggressor or not which could potentially land him in jail for life.

"If you go looking for trouble, if you go looking for a fight, if you initiate a fight if you're the initial aggressor -- you are not afforded the protection of self defense," she explained.

This is all in the hands of the jury and it's just a waiting game for what they decide for Rittenhouse.

The jurors in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse concluded deliberating Tuesday evening and is expected to resume deliberating at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday morning.

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