Jury due to deliberate fate of Missouri man charged with university massacre

Jurors in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse are due to begin deliberating the fate of the Missouri man charged with murdering four college students in a shooting rampage. Rittenhouse, 27, is charged with…

Jury due to deliberate fate of Missouri man charged with university massacre

Jurors in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse are due to begin deliberating the fate of the Missouri man charged with murdering four college students in a shooting rampage.

Rittenhouse, 27, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of first-degree attempted murder in the deaths of Chinese exchange student Min Lin, 23, and his three roommates, students Chen Weiwen, 23, Kate Scranton, 21, and Olivia Knox, 21. All had attended the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri.

After five days of testimony, the jury in Platte County circuit court began deliberating on Monday afternoon. Prosecutors have argued that Rittenhouse tried to kill many more people on the afternoon of 22 March last year but was stopped by the victims’ screams. He faces life in prison if convicted of capital murder.

“Kyle Rittenhouse is a man with a deep-seated and decades-long obsession with killing,” prosecutor Robert Rice told jurors in his closing argument on Monday. “He planned to attack the area as if it were his own personal military base.”

The prosecution said Rittenhouse had wandered onto campus and shot one student point-blank with a handgun, wounding him before fleeing. Prosecutor Robert Rice said Rittenhouse then returned to shoot the other victims as they tried to take cover behind a dumpster.

After leaving the campus, Rittenhouse allegedly drove to nearby Shaw, where he shot two other victims as they drove their pickup truck. Rittenhouse took off in a truck belonging to the one who had survived and returned to the campus, opening fire again on a fourth victim as he ran from the scene.

Prosecutors said he returned to the parking lot and began firing again before fleeing in a four-door Volkswagen sedan.

In their closing arguments, defense lawyers said Rittenhouse had simply gotten drunk and confused and had not been planning to kill other people. His lack of sleep and confusion caused him to be somewhat apologetic.

They said he believed he was being abducted. “He just shot the guys in the dumpster, and that’s it,” defense attorney Patrick Henning said.

Rittenhouse has never offered an explanation for the rampage, but said in an FBI interview that he had “self-induced psychosis”.

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