KENOSHA, Wis. — A judge on Monday set bail for Kyle Rittenhouse at $2 million as he awaits trial on charges that he killed two protesters and injured another during demonstrations over the summer in Kenosha.
Prosecutors argued that Rittenhouse poses a high flight risk, pointing to his lack of ties to the community and the seriousness of the charges he faces.
“There is a certainty that if the defendant is convicted, he will be sent to prison, and a strong likelihood that he will serve most, if not the remainder, of his life in prison if he is convicted of these charges,” Kenosha County District Attorney Thomas Binger said.
“I would note that the defendant does not live in Kenosha, does not reside in Wisconsin, and other than a part-time job as a lifeguard, doesn’t appear to have any ties to our community.”
Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, argued that video of the Aug. 25 shooting made it clear that Rittenhouse was defending himself when he killed Anthony Huber, 26, and Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 26. Rittenhouse told police that he had been chased by a man whom he had tried to stop from hitting windows during protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man.
Richards asked Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner Loren Keating to release Rittenhouse on $750,000 bail, saying that video of the encounter Aug. 25 made it clear that Rittenhouse was “attacked by a mob.”
“We’re not talking about demonstrators, we’re talking about rioters,” he said.
Keating sided with prosecutors, calling the case “very concerning to this court.”
“I don’t feel at this junction, at this point of time, that he has significant ties to the community,” Keating said. “The court does believe that he is a flight risk.”
Rittenhouse appeared in court by video conference for his initial appearance Monday. He was extradited to Wisconsin last week after being held for weeks at a juvenile detention center in Lake County, Illinois.
The 17-year-old turned himself in to police in Antioch, Illinois, one day after the shooting. Records show he tired to surrender to a Kenosha police officer earlier, hours after the shooting, however, he was told to go home.
His arrest has become a rallying point for some on the right, with a legal defense fund that has attracted millions of dollars in donations. Others see Rittenhouse as a domestic terrorist whose presence with a rifle incited the protesters.
The 17-year-old is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 3 for a preliminary hearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.