An Illinois teenager was ordered extradited to Wisconsin to face homicide charges for allegedly killing two protesters and wounding another in Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite objections from his lawyers.
The decision in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, issued by Lake County, Illinois, Circuit Court Judge Paul Novak came after a hearing on Friday.
In ordering extradition, Novak refused to consider Rittenhouse's self-defense claims, his safety in Wisconsin, or the "potential political impact" the local district attorney may have considered in deciding to charge the teen in the politically charged case, all of which had been raised by Rittenhouse's lawyers in opposing the extradition.
"These are matters that can be raised in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, through pre-trial proceedings or during trial," Novak wrote. Rittenhouse's lawyers, who plan to appeal the ruling, also claimed that there were deficiencies in the extradition documents, a claim Novak rejected as well in his ruling on Friday.
Rittenhouse was handed over to Kenosha County authorities Friday afternoon at the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, according to Sgt. Christopher Covelli of the Lake County, Illinois Sheriff’s office.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers filed a writ of habeas corpus petition on Oct. 8 challenging efforts to extradite the teenager and claiming prosecutors overlooked evidence he opened fire on the protesters in self-defense.
Defense attorneys argued in the petition that the “premature and unsupported” charges, issued within 48 hours of the shooting, have fueled public condemnation against Rittenhouse in Wisconsin and impinged on his constitutional right to a fair trial.
Rittenhouse, 17, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree recklessly endangering safety in the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, during an Aug. 25 protest in Kenosha.
He is also charged with attempted reckless homicide in a shooting that same night that left protester Gaige Grosskreutz severely wounded.
The shootings erupted amid protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, who was shot in the back by a police officer and paralyzed.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys claimed that the teenager traveled to Kenosha, about 21 miles from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, on the day of the shooting to answer "his patriotic and civil duty to serve” the city “during a destructive insurrection.”
Rosenbaum allegedly followed Rittenhouse into a used car lot and confronted him in an attempt to disarm him before his death, according to a criminal complaint. The medical examiner found that Rosenbaum was shot in the groin and back -- which fractured his pelvis and perforated his right lung and liver -- and his left hand. He also suffered a superficial wound to his left thigh and a graze wound to his forehead.
Rittenhouse was chased by protesters and fell, according to the criminal complaint. At that point, Huber tried to pull Rittenhouse's gun away when he was allegedly shot and killed, according to the complaint. Rittenhouse then allegedly shot Grosskreutz, who had his hands in the air, in the right arm, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, Grosskreutz moved towards Rittenhouse after putting his hands in the air and “appears to be holding a handgun in his right hand when he was shot.”
Many parts of the incident were captured on video.
In their petition, Rittenhouse’s lawyers argued that “misinformation and false accusations ... are polluting Rittenhouse’s future jury pool and inspiring threats to his life.”
Among the statements cited were an August tweet by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., referring to Rittenhouse as a “17-year-old white supremacist” and a video released by the Joe Biden campaign which included Rittenhouse’s image in a way his attorneys say “falsely portray[ed] Rittenhouse as a white supremacist intent on committing harm, without a shred of evidence to support those claims.”
In a statement issued in August, defense attorney John Pierce said: "Kyle is not a racist or a white supremacist. He is a brave, patriotic, compassionate law-abiding American who loves his country and his community. He did nothing wrong. He defended himself, which is a fundamental right of all Americans given by God and protected by law."
At an Oct. 9 hearing, Pierce said "this is not a legitimate criminal prosecution, it is a political prosecution.” The habeas petition opposing extradition warned that with the animosity the teen faced from the case, sending him back to Wisconsin to face prosecution “would be to turn him over to the mob.”