WAUKEGAN, Ill. — Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, will stay locked up in Illinois for at least for a few more weeks as his attorneys continue to fight his extradition. The teen is accused of killing two people and wounding a third on Aug. 25 during protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
On Friday morning, a small handful of people, nearly all supporters for Rittenhouse, stood outside the Lake County Courthouse in Illinois. Inside, a virtual hearing was underway for Rittenhouse on the status of his extradition hearing. The 17-year-old sat masked in a hearing room, never saying a word during the proceedings as his lawyers argued for more time.
“There is no reason to rush. There is a danger to this detainee,” said John Pierce, defense attorney for Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers are questioning the teen’s safety, saying if he brought back to Wisconsin it would be like turning "him over to the mob." The Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim says there have been threats made against Rittenhouse and his family.
“I don’t know that he is in any more or less danger than he would be here than he would be there,” said Nerheim.
According to court documents, Rittenhouse is seen on video shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, after Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at him. Rittenhouse is then seen running away and being chased by Anthony Huber, 26. Investigators say Rittenhouse shot and killed Huber as he tried to take away Rittenhouse’s rifle before shooting and seriously wounding Gaige Grosskreutiz. Rittenhouse was arrested for the murders the next day in Illinois where he’s remained ever since.
“This is a very unique extraordinary situation. There is a massive amount of video evidence that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is not a legitimate criminal prosecution,” said Pierce.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers also say when it comes to his extradition there is a signature missing from the documents.
“This is a political prosecution. There are serious issues with the extradition paperwork,” said Pierce.
The Lake County State’s Attorney refused to get into details of the criminal case saying that will be for the Kenosha County District Attorney to argue in court when Rittenhouse is tried for the crimes. Nerheim says on his end, all his paperwork is in order.
“I’m not prosecuting Mr. Rittenhouse, we are just trying to make sure the extradition process is fair,” said Nerheim.
That extradition hearing is now scheduled to happen on Oct. 30. Rittenhouse remains in juvenile detention even though he is charged as an adult in Wisconsin because Illinois considers anyone under age 18 a juvenile.