KENOSHA, Wis. - National attention comes to Kenosha on Monday, Nov. 1 as jury selection gets underway in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.
The jury will ultimately decide if Rittenhouse is guilty of homicide, or if he was acting in self-defense, when he shot three people – killing two – in August 2020.
Three hundred people have been summoned for jury duty Monday at 9 a.m. – three times as many people as are summoned in an average week. It is one of the many preparations in place to make sure the Rittenhouse trial is run by the book.
Kenosha County Clerk of Circuit Courts Rebecca Matoska-Mentink spent the last several months preparing for what will happen inside the courtroom.
"If this isn’t done right, then the trial is not going to go," Matoska-Mentink said.
Kyle Rittenhouse hearing in Kenosha County court
Matoska-Mentink is tasked with making sure the logistics of each trial go smoothly. High-profile trials, like the one for Rittenhouse, are something she has done before.
"It just takes a little extra planning, a lot of collaboration, communication with the judge and preparation between a lot of county facility staff, too," said Matoska-Mentink.
Seats in the courtroom have been assigned and marked for social distancing. There is a media room set up downstairs. The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, IT staff, judge and clerk's office are all working together to create a plan.
"You prepare for the worst, and hope for the best," Matoska-Mentink said. "I’m hoping that people are going to be respectful – from the media to the citizens, it’s a beautiful courthouse. It’s a beautiful campus. We have a beautiful city here, and that this is just another case that just happens to have a lot of attention."
This weekend, the Kenosha Police Department tweeted their priority during the trial is the safety of everyone who calls Kenosha home.
Kenosha County Courthouse marks seats in preparation for Kyle Rittenhouse trial
Rittenhouse is charged with seven counts – including five felonies:
- First-degree reckless homicide
- First-degree intentional homicide
- Attempted intentional homicide
- Recklessly endangering safety (2 counts)
Defense attorneys plan to argue that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, injuring Gaige Grosskreutz.