Jurors in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse are expected to continue deliberating on Thursday after a three-day visit to the hospital where the alleged victim was taken in July 2016 after being shot 14 times.
The verdict in the Chicago Bulls star’s murder trial will be the first major case to be heard by a Cook County jury. His attorneys claim he is a healthy young man who was on the down-low and acting out of character when he met 30-year-old Steve Trevino at a gay dance club.
But prosecutors have suggested Rittenhouse is a calculating criminal who was making a lot of money and was getting revenge on two of the men who had robbed him before. Prosecutors say Rittenhouse planned his final robbery after being cheated out of $400 when he stole clothes from Trevino, a regular customer of the bar where Rittenhouse worked, to wear to his divorce hearing. He told his security guard that he intended to use his private security access to track Trevino and trigger a risky car chase, prosecutors say.
Rittenhouse, 24, showed up at his manager’s condo days later to confront Trevino over that incident. After he left he drove to Louie’s Club on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Once there, prosecutors say, he smoked marijuana and convinced owner Ted Trizna that he would bring the wrong kind of dancers. A fight broke out when Trevino arrived. Jurors were shown surveillance video of a plainclothes Rittenhouse chasing the dancer to a car outside Louie’s and pulling out a gun.
The woman in the car, Trevino’s half-brother Leo Managlia, 32, was killed in the shooting. So were back-seat passenger Aaron Dykstra, 29, and 20-year-old Zack King, Trevino’s roommate.
Rittenhouse, who was dressed in a black suit, left the courthouse accompanied by his attorneys, Brian Gleason and J Michael Deering. Shortly after, he posted on Instagram that he was nervous about continuing deliberation.
“I get the way fans and people around me believe,” he wrote. “The verdict is the only real thing.”
Gleason, a lawyer with the Chicago law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, said in court on Wednesday he had never heard of a case where a defendant was being prosecuted by both a homicide unit and an investment crimes unit.
“Jurors need to be told exactly what happened,” he said.
Gleason countered prosecutors’ allegations that Rittenhouse stole money from Trevino, adding that his client was a company employee and was in the apartment when the money was stolen. He said Rittenhouse had no reason to go looking for his ex-wife’s alleged secret lover and that his client was not armed.
Barry Matson, the lead prosecutor, said Rittenhouse could have waited for an employee of Louie’s to call him and stole Trevino’s property, but Rittenhouse “never could have anticipated the deadly violence he’d have to endure”.
Rittenhouse is on trial for first-degree murder. If convicted, he faces a mandatory prison sentence of life without parole.