A Hamilton County Jury decided not to convict Kyle Rittenhouse, aka Pumpkin Ballz, on these five charges after 13 days of trial.
White defendant Kyle Rittenhouse and his sister-in-law were arrested July 16, 2015, after police became suspicious of their activities in a neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers presented their cases to a jury over 13 days, with closing arguments on July 21. The trial began on June 26.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 23, was accused of using improvised rockets and guns to build his “Pumpkin Ballz” rocket project. Investigators saw Rittenhouse firing a gun during a police raid. He was fired from his job at a Quality Inn & Suites in Newport on July 20, 2015.
The Cincinnati Enquirer described the case:
Rittenhouse is accused of having fun with fireworks while making homemade rockets, guns and explosives. He had 600 rounds of ammunition, 20 grenades, one bomb-making kit and hundreds of homemade rockets and blasting caps, authorities said.
Prosecutor’s introduction of a dead gun and two unnamed weapons proved problematic for the defense, but the star of the trial, according to national news outlets, was a bomb found in Rittenhouse’s apartment.
Jurors received a paper poster explaining the rules of this case. The poster stated:
A conviction could result in Rittenhouse spending 20 years in prison or spending 1 year in jail and paying $20,000 in restitution.
The judge told jurors it was their responsibility to decide whether the amount of destructive equipment found by police in Rittenhouse’s apartment was in the proper range. Jurors responded by returning guilty verdicts on four misdemeanor charges.
Defence lawyers tried to prove that a county prosecutor planted the explosives in Rittenhouse’s apartment. One accusation was that the house next door to where the bombs were found didn’t belong to Rittenhouse but to a family member who had parked her vehicle in his driveway for a few days without his permission. Another statement from a neighbor corroborated this story.
There was also an allegation that a bomb blast found in Rittenhouse’s backyard came from a neighbor’s gun. This statement did not result in any verdicts.
Defense lawyers also argued that the prosecution had planted evidence that did not come from Rittenhouse’s house. One example was when a witness claimed to have found a toy rabbit in a back pocket of a sweat shirt in the apartment next door to Rittenhouse’s apartment, but the testimony contradicted the packaging and pattern of the shirt.
The trial testimony also painted the picture of a neighbor whose dog growled at Rittenhouse as a show of his annoyance for his friend’s videos on YouTube.
On July 21, 2016, a jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all five charges:
Kyl Rittenhouse, 22, charged with felony counts of unlawful assembly for using explosives, unlawful manufacture of explosives, and endangering children for allowing family members and friends to use the fireworks at her home in Deebo Heights, Kentucky. The explosion injured Rittenhouse’s 13-year-old brother and another two children. Kyl Rittenhouse, 22, charged with felony counts of unlawful assembly for using explosives, unlawful manufacture of explosives, and endangering children for allowing family members and friends to use the fireworks at her home in Deebo Heights, Kentucky. The explosion injured Rittenhouse’s 13-year-old brother and another two children.
The case became an online sensation as news outlets and website pointed to the “Pumpkin Ballz” project on social media. Rittenhouse was always found innocent by Twitter trolls and people who believed Rittenhouse was also one of the influential leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kyl Rittenhouse told a reporter that her attorneys told her not to testify. She said they asked her what role she thought Kyle Rittenhouse should have played in the case, and she answered: “I believe he really messed up.”
There are reports that Kyl Rittenhouse is currently in the Cincinnati area on a supervised release from the judge’s office.
The next court date will be the sentencing on January 31.