(KENOSHA, Wis.) — The AR-15-style rifle that Kyle Rittenhouse used in the shooting of three men during a 2020 protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will be destroyed.
State prosecutors, the defense and the man who purchased the gun agreed to let the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha Joint Services destroy the firearm, along with the magazine and the scope, so that the weapon “will not be in anyone’s possession,” Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said during a hearing in Kenosha County circuit court Friday.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder, who presided over Rittenhouse’s high-profile trial, approved the agreement during the hearing.
The destruction will likely occur in April at the state crime lab and will be recorded, Binger said. For now, the gun will remain locked up at the Kenosha Police Department’s secure evidence bureau, Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN-TV reported.
The latest development in the case comes after Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, filed a motion on Jan. 19 requesting the return of Rittenhouse’s property that had been seized by Kenosha police following the shooting and entered into evidence.
The items requested included the Smith & Wesson M&P rifle, along with clothing, an iPhone and a baseball cap.
Rittenhouse, who was not in court for the hearing Friday, “further wishes to ensure that the firearm in question is properly destroyed,” Richards wrote in an affidavit filed with the motion.
Richards and Rittenhouse’s spokesperson, David Hancock, told The Associated Press that Rittenhouse wanted the gun destroyed and personal items thrown away so they could not be used as a political symbol or to celebrate the shootings. On Friday, Richards told reporters after the hearing that they also didn’t want anyone to profit off the sale of the rifle, WISN reported.
During the hour-long hearing, Schroeder also ordered that county officials return Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail and approved an agreement that would largely split the money between Richards’ law firm and the #Fightback Foundation, which was formed by attorneys Lin Wood and John Pierce, who had initially represented Rittenhouse in the case.
An entity known as the Patent and Trademark Hedge Fund Trust had filed a motion also laying claim to the bail, arguing that as Pierce’s creditors the fund was entitled to the money. Schroeder denied the motion, ruling that the fund’s attorneys aren’t licensed to practice in Wisconsin and have no legal standing in the state, and called the fund’s investment in a criminal bond “bizarre.”
Rittenhouse, 19, faced multiple charges, including intentional homicide, after fatally shooting two men during riots that erupted in Kenosha over a police officer shooting and paralyzing Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, died, and Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, was severely wounded.
Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, claimed he used the gun in self-defense because he was being attacked by a mob and feared for his life. A jury acquitted Rittenhouse of the charges in November.
Just hours before closing arguments in the case, Schroeder threw out a misdemeanor charge against Rittenhouse of being a minor in possession of a dangerous weapon. Rittenhouse’s attorneys cited an exception in Wisconsin law that allows minors to possess shotguns and rifles as long as they’re not short-barreled.
Earlier this month, Dominick Black, the man who bought Rittenhouse the rifle, pleaded no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The plea bargain agreement spared Black, 20, from being tried on felony charges stemming from his purchase.
As part of the plea deal, Black agreed to pay a fine of $2,000, which Binger described as a “form of punishment and a deterrence” to anyone thinking of purchasing such a firearm for a minor.
ABC News’ Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.
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