Kyle Rittenhouse pleads not guilty to charges in Kenosha protest shootings

Kyle Rittenhouse pleads not guilty to charges in Kenosha protest shootings
© Screenshot/TMJ4 News

Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager accused of fatally shooting two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., last year, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Rittenhouse, now 18 years old, filed his plea during a brief hearing conducted via Zoom. The teen was 17 years old when he allegedly killed the two people.

Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the incident and attempted intentional homicide in the wounding of a third person during the August incident. He’s also facing a misdemeanor charge of underage firearm possession for wielding a semi-automatic rifle. He faces life in prison.

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Prosecutors say that Rittenhouse went from Antioch, Ill., to Kenosha in August during mass protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was ultimately left paralyzed from the waist down. 

Rittenhouse was responding to calls to defend local businesses and allegedly shot the three protesters with an assault-style rifle.

The teen has argued that he was acting in self-defense, and he was released from the Kenosha County Jail in November on a $2 million cash bail that was paid through an account set up by his attorneys.

Rittenhouse’s case has divided the nation, with conservatives rallying around him as someone exercising his Second Amendment rights and social justice advocates casting him as a harmful individual who arrived in Kenosha to hurt protesters.

Rittenhouse will return to court and face a jury on March 29.