A Montgomery County jury is set to begin deliberations Thursday in the murder trial of Rittenhouse Capital Management’s Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of shooting his estranged wife to death as she drove to a children’s soccer game in July 2015.
He faces up to life in prison.
In his closing argument, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Richard Parsons said Rittenhouse had raised a “substantial number of red flags” prior to the killing that should have alerted authorities to the danger he posed to his wife, Tanya Rittenhouse. They included the financial and domestic problems they had been having.
“He was a constant danger to his wife. I don’t think she felt safe,” Parsons said.
“The choice was [to] stay with Tanya, or flee with Tanya. The choice was to try to find Kyle, or try to take her kids and safety,” Parsons said.
Other experts testified about the impact of Rittenhouse’s lack of mental stability on the couples’ relationship, which was fueled by the demands of work. Prosecutors say he, in a fit of rage, shot his wife at at least three separate times.
Defense attorneys countered the analysis of Rittenhouse, a former behavioral health counselor at a foster home and child-rearing group home, was flawed.
They said Rittenhouse was driven to snap. He and his wife had fought repeatedly over his drinking and his refusal to stay away from her. He also argued over their parenting styles, the relationship they shared.
In the two days of deliberations since deliberations began Tuesday, jurors have looked at video footage from the dash-cam in the squad car of Montgomery County Officer Travis Warner, who had pursued Rittenhouse on the night of the murder.
He stopped the Chevy Blazer at almost exactly the same spot where the shooting happened — the corner of Ickes and Olney Road. A bazooka-shaped construction trailer that had been moved to take out the rear wheel on the Blazer prevented Warner from deploying his stun gun.
State Police say Warner stopped because of his firearm. Prosecutors say Rittenhouse did not have a weapon.
Warner testified last week that he never noticed what Rittenhouse was pointing at his head.
Prosecutors presented other evidence that they say showed Rittenhouse was erratic the night of the murder.
Tanya Rittenhouse’s autopsy showed she was shot twice in the back.
Two police officers testified last week that Rittenhouse told them, “Did you see Tanya’s foot?” when they asked him to explain his actions on the night of the murder.
Warner was not the only witness who testified he encountered the Blazer. He was sitting in his car when police were called to the scene of the shooting. Warner tried unsuccessfully to pull over the Blazer but could not because he lacked lights and sirens.