Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who is charged with shooting and killing two protesters at a demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will be extradited to Wisconsin, from his home state of Illinois. The order was made by Judge Paul Novak, who also rejected claims from defense attorneys that the charges against Rittenhouse were politically motivated, according to WGNTV.
Rittenhouse’s lawyer, John Pierce, argued that “This Illinois child must go free,” and be allowed to stay in Illinois. Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller said that the law is very clear that a US citizen can't claim sanctuary in one state while they are suspected of committing a murder in another.
Judge Novak said that he would consider halting a cross-state extradition under certain circumstances, like if the suspect was not yet charged, or the identity of the suspect was in doubt, but none of those conditions applied in this case.
Rittenhouse is facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a sentence of life in prison. He is also charged with attempted intentional homicide and a misdemeanor charge of underage firearm possession.
Rittenhouse had traveled to the protests with a militia group that organized online and claimed to be assisting police and protecting private property during the demonstrations. The details of exactly what happened are still being investigated and debated, but at some point during the protest, Rittenhouse shot a protester multiple times.
Rittenhouse then began to try to get away from the area, but protesters who witnessed the shooting chased after him and tried to stop him. When the group caught up with Rittenhouse, another person was shot and killed after a short scuffle. After that, Rittenhouse was able to walk right past the police and leave the city. In one of the videos taken by witnesses, Rittenhouse can be heard saying “I just killed somebody.”
The video that Rittenhouse’s legal team will likely use shows an angry mob chasing after Rittenhouse, and then him firing at a person who he had an altercation with. If this was where the incident began, then this would surely be proof of self-defense, but the fact that the angry mob was chasing him because he had already killed someone changes the situation and its legal implications entirely. The trial will likely focus on that first encounter to determine whether or not Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, as his attorneys claim.
Despite his young age, Rittenhouse was an extremely enthusiastic supporter of the police and even joined the cadet program. His social media pages are filled with “Blue Lives Matter” banners and photos of him posing with guns. Rittenhouse has also seen support from many conservatives who viewed him as a peacekeeper during the riots. After the killing, video footage surfaced showing the young man punching a girl in the head.
Former classmates of Rittenhouse at Lakes Community High School told VICE News that he was notorious for having a bad temper and going out of his way to start arguments with people who he perceived of having left-wing political opinions.